Steelform Wanganui scraped home by a mere point after a stern tussle with King Country in a pre-season Heartland rugby match at Turangi on Saturday.
Coach Jason Caskey gave all 27 squad members a run during the game played in four quarters.
Wanganui scored five tries that were all converted to produce a 35-34 victory.
Caskey said King Country took the pre-season seriously and played accordingly, most of their points coming from the boot. “It was a bit of a stern test, especially up front in the forwards,” Caskey said.
“We had a pretty rigorous workout on the Friday to prepare and I’m happy to say our men executed most of the set pieces we practised. Because of the workload on Friday there was a bit of fatigue creeping in by the final quarter. We were up 21-6 at one stage then we allowed them to get back into the game. They did it mainly with kicks though.”
Caskey had planned to start Zyon Hekenui at first five, but instead lined Dane Whale up in the No10 jersey.
“Zyon had to head off to work on Friday and missed most of the moves we had planned, so I started Dane at first five. It worked well and we showed a bit of guts to come back from 34-28 in the dying stages. We ended up scoring five tries all converted.
“Tautahi Rawiri did most of the kicking,” Caskey added.
The only injury of note was to Kaierau forward Darren Munro who suffered another knock to the head. “I think Darren will probably throw it in for the season – he’s had bad concussion before.
“Over all though I’m pretty happy with the way we performed.”
Wanganui have another pre-season workout against Manawatu B at Cooks Gardens on Wednesday night.
By Iain Hyndman – WANGANUI CHRONICLE