Tauranga Boys’ juggernaut rolls on

Tauranga Boys’ winger Kele Lasaqa scored a fine try against Napier Boys’. Photo: Maree Wilson.

Tauranga Boys’ sent a resounding warning to their remaining Super 8 opponents after an emphatic 52-12 victory in Napier on Saturday afternoon.

Napier Boys’ is the latest high-profile school to be given a rugby lesson by Tauranga this season, after being completely outplayed on their home pitch.

The impressive performance follows a 57-14 triumph over local rivals Rotorua and a 48-17 win over New Plymouth that have catapulted Tauranga to a share of second place with Hamilton on the Super 8 table.

Hastings lead by a point, but have played one more game.

Palmerston North host the high-flying Tauranga team on Saturday, before the eagerly awaited match-up against Hamilton takes place on Thursday, July 4, in Hamilton.

Tauranga’s win in Napier follows the dynamic blueprint set in those opening two wins, with a dominant forward pack out-muscling their opponents before the livewire backline showed off some sublime attacking skills.

For a masterclass in accuracy, taking opportunities when presented and shutting down your opponents, it would be hard to go past the first-half performance.

When Napier did manage to stop the onslaught, it was often by illegal play as the local referee penalised the home side heavily.

Napier’s defence kept creeping offside as they became more and more desperate to try to stop the Tauranga attacks.

Napier came into the match unbeaten, after wins over Gisborne and Hastings, and had plenty of ball to play with. They looked capable of scoring more points, but were repulsed by the staunch Tauranga defensive spirit, which every member of coach Aidan Kuka’s squad has taken to heart.

Lock Caleb Neilson scored the first of Tauranga’s eight tries after rangy fullback Aaron Riley and winger Kele Lasaqa had turned defence into attack with a swift counter-attack.

The technical efficiency of Tauranga’s lineout and driving maul proved almost unstoppable at times, with bustling hooker Tyi Sinkinson helping himself to two tries at the back of surging drives over the goal-line.

Openside flanker Jay McQuoid finished off another fine Riley burst to grab a first-half try, with Lasaqa, No 8 Aidan Spratley, winger Aiden Roy and midfielder Judah Draiva also dotting down.

First-five Mason Verster again impressed with his goalkicking and general play. His combination with captain and halfback Charlie Sinton remains a key ingredient in how far their team will go in the Super 8 competition.

Coach Kuka was delighted with his team’s performance overall, but particularly pleased with his forward pack.

“Our backs have been our strength all year, and again they delivered, but it was probably more off the back of what the forwards were doing, which really gave them that space to express themselves.

“Our forwards really stepped up today. They were delivered a challenge and they accepted it. I thought they were outstanding. There were some interpretation issues around binding and the gap in the scrum early on, but as soon as we worked through those we were able to find a few solutions.”

Tauranga Boys’ College 52 (Tyi Sinkinson 2, Caleb Neilson, Jay McQuoid, Kela Lasaqa, Aidan Spratley, Aiden Roy, Judah Draiva tries: Mason Verster 6 cons), Napier Boys’ High School 12. Halftime: 33-5.



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