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Assault from the heartland

ELUSIVE: Sam Monaghan steps past the last defender to score a solo try.

ELUSIVE: Sam Monaghan steps past the last defender to score a solo try.

As a final dress rehearsal for their forthcoming Heartland championship campaign, Wairarapa-Bush’s 71-0 walloping of Poverty Bay in the Jeremy David Memorial trophy representative rugby match at Memorial Park, Masterton on Saturday was about as good as anyone could anticipate.

Making light of ground conditions made puggy by the heavy rain which had fallen over the previous few days, Wairarapa-Bush were lethal in their attacking play, with many of their 11 tries being spectacular affairs.

Going to halftime with a 28-0 lead after having played with the wind at their backs and running in four converted tries, the home team ran riot in the second, especially over the latter stages when forwards and backs constantly combined in movements which swept half the length of the field and more.

It wasn’t as if Poverty Bay flew the white flag either. Their endeavour showed little sign of wavering even as the score mounted to miniature cricket match proportions but they had no answer to the intensity of the Wairarapa-Bush forwards and the slickness, flair and pace of their backs.

Up front the dominance achieved by Wairarapa-Bush in the set pieces of scrum and lineout through the diligence of players like Kurt Simmonds, Richard Puddy, Jacko Hull, Andrew McLean and Sam Marshall-Wilson, who made every post a winner when called in late to the starting XV as a replacement for injured lock James Wall, was such that loosies Rima Marutai, Andrew McWhirter and Tom Fleming were able to roam far and wide, relishing the extra freedom.

The impact they made on attack was matched by their high workrate on defence, the sureness of their tackling often nipping Poverty Bay attacks in the bud before they got to first base.

Wairarapa-Bush head coach Mark Rutene had stated in his post-match comments that he wanted his backs to cut loose and they certainly answered that call in a positive vein.

First-five Sam Monaghan was clearly the standout individual with his astute reading of play and his fleetness of foot whenever he elected to go it alone but there was a lot to admire, too, about the clever tactical direction provided by Zeb Aporo at halfback, the strength and power in midfield of Byron Karaitiana, Michael Te Whare and Robbie Anderson, the purposeful running of wings Nick Olson and Paul Tikomainwalu and the silky skills and accurate goalkicking of fullback Ben Aoina.

Rima Marurai (3), Sam Monaghan (2), Paul Tikomainavalu (2), Richard Puddy, Nick Olson, Ben Aoina and Adam Johnson scored tries for Wairarapa-Bush and Aoina added eight conversions.

Wairarapa-Bush’s first match in the Heartland championship is against King Country in Taupo on August 23.

They will prepare for that game with a training camp at Glenburn Station next weekend.




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