Before the Heartland Championship season started, Wairarapa Bush warmed up by thumping Poverty Bay 71-0.
Round four of the competition saw a 84-point swing in fortune for the teams, as Poverty Bay recorded a stunning 23-10 upset win over Bush in Masterton today.
The visitors barely competed in pre-season, but this time they made it clear from the outset that this was war.
They were embarrassed and humiliated last time. This was for revenge.
When asked what they did in this match that they didn’t last time, Poverty Bay coach Mutu Ngarimu could only laugh.
“Compete,” he finally spat out.
“We didn’t even turn up in pre-season. This time it was a whole different story. Wairarapa Bush are a bloody good team with good coaches and good players, but we knocked them off their stride.
“It was a huge game for us.”
Henry Bridge and Clayton Kiwara scored first half tries for the visitors, with Kiwara slotting one conversion to hand his team a 12-3 lead at the break.
Brent Ingram added to the score after the break, scoring Poverty Bay’s third try of the afternoon, and Kiwara added two penalties for good measure.
With 10 minutes remaining Wairarapa Bush had a sniff of a comeback, scoring an intercept try, but the visitors then shut it down, closing out an impressive victory.
Bush made a lot of errors, turning the ball over about 25 times during the match.
Coach Mark Rutene said there were perfect conditions for rugby, but his side didn’t get the memo.
“It was bloody awful. We made way too many errors. We were bad.”
The victory keeps Poverty Bay in the hunt for a Meads Cup spot at season’s end, sitting third on the competition table behind unbeaten surprise package Buller and South Canterbury.