League: Stallions easily broken as defence struggles

By Greg Taipari

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WaiCoa Bay Stallions player Carlos Kohu-Martin surges away to score in the loss to Akarana Falcons. Photo / Ben Fraser
WaiCoa Bay Stallions player Carlos Kohu-Martin surges away to score in the loss to Akarana Falcons. Photo / Ben Fraser

Stallions or lame horses?

It was hard to tell but league fans were most likely thinking the latter after the Waicoa Bay Stallions went down 56-16 to the Akarana Falcons.

The weather and pitch were perfect but it was a tired looking Stallions side which took to the Puketawhero Park in Rotorua at the weekend.

Maybe the side were suffering a hangover from their 48-12 drubbing of the Central Vipers at Mt Smart last week.

Whatever the excuse the Morgan Kutia coached side have a week to sort it out or they will find it an uncomfortable 80 minutes at Mt Smart Stadium for their match against Canterbury Bulls next Monday.

The Stallions started well with the home side the first to put points on the board, thanks to some individual brilliance from hard-working captain Hayden Karena. The nippy half chased hard to regather a clever kick from standoff Pirikawana Taiatini.

They played the ball to the right for two plays before shifting it back to the left where dummy half Ruareti Grace charged over from a quick play of the ball. It was easily converted by Karena.

Both sides had a tight tussle up front but the Stallions started to tire. Their big forwards struggled to get back in the defensive line and slowed down the Falcons' ball.

Within 35 minutes the visitors had racked up six tries to lead 32-6 and that was the game pretty much done and dusted.

Although hulking prop Tai Pelasasa was devastating in the contact area, like most of the forward pack he struggled to get back into the defensive line and it appeared the Akarana players were targeting that weakness.

After the break Akarana looked to use the wiper kick to great success with right winger Leni Sulusi twice picking up tries thanks to the right foot of standoff Jonathon Carl.

The Auckland side managed to pile on five tries in the second spell and all the Stallions had left to play for was pride. They managed this with two tries in the second half to hard-working lock forward Willy Rutene and second rower Jeremy Siulepa.

However, it appears Rotorua's Taiatini's 2013 season maybe over with the standoff suffering what appears to be a serious ankle injury.

With only one week remaining in the regular season of the Pritek National Season, Auckland will look to continue their good form with a home game against the Northern Swords at Cornwell Park on Sunday at 2.30pm.

The Stallions have the Sky TV televised match against the Bulls at Mt Smart on Monday, October 14 at 7.35pm.

Waicoa Bay Stallions 16 (R Grace, W Rutene, J Siulepa tries; H Karena 2 cons) Akana Falcons 56 (T Koopu 2, K Fraser, G Fuimaono 2, D Palavi, J Carl 2, L Sulusi 2, E Esera tries; C Walker 6 cons) Halftime 6-30.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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