Poverty Bay Rugby Football Union clinched gold on Saturday.
A two-pronged initiative in which top teams from Civil Project Solutions played and hosted five clubs from the eastern Bay of Plenty – and a Turanga Combined team made up of senior 1 players from local clubs faced Wairoa Combined – was a resounding success.
The Turanga Combined team won a thriller 26-24 at Nuhaka Domain – left winger Mosese Bulicakau scoring to equalize at full time.
YMP’s first five-eighth Waiti Tamatea sealed Turanga’s victory by converting what was Bulicakau’s second try.
To cap off a wonderful weekend, the Women of Poverty Bay beat Tapuae 19-5 at the Tapuae Sports Grounds yesterday.
One of Wairoa’s tireless rugby contributors – Tapuae player-coach Wayne Hema, who along with Turuki Tahuri and Paul Morunga had worked with the combined Wairoa side leading up to the Turanga-Wairoa swap – was the referee at the Sports Grounds yesterday.
Hema of Tapuae (Roseland Tavern Tapuae, Charteris Choppers Wairoa Athletic and Nuhaka V8s being the three clubs from which Wairoa Combined was drawn) is a man working as hard for the future of rugby as he is for its present.
Last Friday he said: “Turuki, our head coach, has the team looking sharp and ready to display Wairoa rugby. It pushes players to express their skills and show our brutality and roughness.
Months of planning for this rugby weekend have paid off. Ngatapa Senior 1 coach Kohi Waihi who was leading the Turanga Combined team in Nuhaka said: “These matches, this exchange, it’s a great concept and it’s been a good experience for the players, the coaches. . . . Everyone.
“For our boys here against Wairoa Combined it was tough, honest rugby. Both teams came out to play. Spectators got to enjoy a close 80-minute brawl.
Turanga Combined veteran Pat Thomson was on Cloud 9.
“It was an absolute game – and for us to practice what we had only practiced twice was magic, truly amazing,” said the battle-scarred lock.
“Wairoa was even more difficult than expected and both teams were still trying to figure out some of the new laws of rugby.
“The referee, Ben Holt, explained his decisions to us. He didn’t just seek to denounce and he did a wonderful job.
Wairoa Combined skipper and blindside flanker, Hickson Raroa, was typically amiable: “The game went well and we played as we planned, but we had to do it for 80 minutes. We are happy with the way we played and hope the score will be different next time.
PBRFU general manager Josh Willoughby confirmed yesterday that the plan is to reorganize the two elements of the event in 2023.
“It was an important day for community rugby because the purpose of a union is to strengthen its community game,” he said.
“The quality of the matches and the hospitality of the clubs at the post-match functions here was special. It’s something our rugby community can be incredibly proud of.
Among home events, although poor health prevented Opotiki Sports from facing the first two GT champions Shearing Waikohu at Te Karaka Estate, the availability of Waikohu players for other teams benefited those clubs immensely.
For High School Old Boys, giant prop Jarryd Broughton played bareheaded and scored a hat-trick. His Waikohu teammate, hooker Tulsa Kaui, also picked up a try for HSOB.
Each team got something from the day. Perseverance paid off for Te Teko in the second half of their clash with HSOB on Ground 2 at the Oval, when left winger Pene Heihei scored the game’s final try for HSOB 50, “Texas” 5.
In other results, East Coast Farm Vets YMP beat Whakatane Marist 29-28 at Barry Park 1, Enterprise Cars OBM beat Paroa 54-18 at Oval 1 and Larsawn Ngatapa beat Poroporo 22-19 at Paddy’s Park.
The influence of Poroporo’s coach, former Bay of Plenty Steamers coach Baden Wardlaw, a dynamic player whose career was cut short by injury problems three years ago, could be seen in the visitors’ fitness, their high level of skill and their controlled aggressiveness.
Ngatapa, under the low-key but effective coaching duo of Heith Hawea and Matt Evans, has reason to be proud of a win over Poroporo.
“It was a game played in a very good frame of mind,” Hawea said.
“Poroporo has been a pleasure to host, and as far as rugby goes we are definitely taking steps in the right direction – I thought our scrum was dominant.”
Ruatoki captain and second five David Tawhi was at the top of his game against Kevin Hollis Glass Pirates in the visitors’ 38-19 win at the No1 Rectory ground. On this high quality turf at Gisborne Boys’ High School, the tough Tawhi was an inspired performance.
Pirates captain and lock keeper Bernard Nepe was impressed with the performance of fellow forwards, blind flanker Michael McClutchie and reserve No 8 Paora Mullany.
Nepe sees Premier and Senior 1 players – like reserve front five Henare Keepa on Saturday – stepping into the breach to help the club.
“We were at our best when we had a fastball on the front foot,” Nepe said.
“And we enjoyed not only playing, but also hosting Ruatoki a lot.”
YMP head coach Kahu Tamatea knows that the Eastern Bay teams, having now seen and experienced the level of fitness and play of CPS’s top-flight teams, will be well prepared for a rematch when the time comes. came.
Referring to the one-point win over Whakatane Marist, Tamatea said, “We are happy with our efforts as this match gave us the opportunity to test young talent and try new combinations. Our boys did well to come back after losing three tries at the start of the first half.
Player and spectator behavior was very good in Nuhaka and Tapuae, and in Poverty Bay.
Eastern Bay fans and the public enjoyed the best of the local game, the referees got into the spirit of the occasion and the ball traveled from edge to edge, more often in the hand than through the shoe .
It was brilliant rugby at all levels with an appreciable camaraderie.
AND IT’S OVER: YMP’s Hayze Nepia scores near the posts in his side’s 29-28 win over Whakatane Marist in a rugby swap between clubs Poverty Bay and Eastern Bay of Plenty at the weekend. Photo by Paul Rickard