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Heartland Preview – Poverty Bay v West Coast – Head 2 Head


6th September 2014

Poverty Bay v West Coast

@ Gisborne 2.30PM BET NOW

Head to Head – Odds @ 7.20pm 5/09/2014

Poverty Bay ($1.16) v ($4.75) West Coast



RUGBY – FORMER All Black winger Rico Gear makes his first appearance on Rugby Park since 2005 when Poverty Bay play West Coast in a Heartland Championship game tomorrow (2.30pm kickoff).

Nine years ago, Gear helped Nelson Bays beat the Bay 50-22 in an NPC second division match.

Bay assistant coach Gear will be hoping for a better result tomorrow than his last game for the Bay on the Park — an NPC third division semifinal loss to Marlborough in 1997.

Gear will wear the No.11 jersey as the Bay bid to get their Heartland Championship campaign back on track after last week’s loss to North Otago in Oamaru.

“It’s not just Rico’s playing ability that makes him a key player for us, it’s also his experience,” said Bay coach Mutu Ngarimu, who has made only one change to the starting line-up.

Ethine Reeves comes in at fullback, with Brynn Uriarau replacing winger Carl Riini.

There are also two changes on the bench — Ken Houkamau and Henry Bridge replacing Jared Phelps and Reeves.

“It’s just a matter of tweaking the team a bit from last week,” said Ngarimu. “Overall we were happy with the way the boys went; obviously not with the result but the first-half performance is something we can build on. The call tomorrow is 80 minutes.

“Ethine offers us an X factor. He’s got the pace that can open up defences. Jared didn’t do anything wrong. We’re bringing Ken in for a bit more physicality in the ball-carrying department. Henry has been out with an injury.”

West Coast lost their opening two matches but Ngarimu said there was no way the Bay would underestimate the South Islanders.

“They beat us down there last year (30-14) and their two losses this season have been to two of the big guns — Mid Canterbury and South Canterbury.

“Mid Canterbury are the defending champions and, along with South Canterbury, will be aiming for the Meads Cup (top four) this season.

“West Coast will be a typical South Island team — big, well-drilled forwards — so it’s important our forwards front up tomorrow.”

It should also be noted that the Allan Lindsay-coached Coast led Mid Canterbury 27-13 at halftime in their Heartland opener only to run out of steam in the second spell and lose 52-27. Among the Coast’s loan players are three giant forwards who are likely to feature tomorrow — lock Kalave Aualiita (1.94 metres, 115 kilograms), loosehead prop Lolesio Lave (1.8m, 118kg) and No.8 Rowan O’Gorman (1.84m, 107kg).

Like his coach, Bay captain and lock Murray Hewson stressed the need for the pack to “front up”.

“You can talk all you want about having good backlines, and I believe we have a good one, but unless we give them the ball they can’t do a lot,” Hewson said.

“We showed what we are capable of in the first 40 against North Otago but didn’t react the way we should have in the second half. Lesson learned. I’m sure if we get into a position like that again we won’t make the same mistake.

“But you have to remember we’ve only been together with our loan players for the past two weeks. We’re ticking boxes off the more time we spend together as a team.”

Poverty Bay




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