Rugby: Mount fail to adapt to the conditions

By Ben Guild

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Bethlehem College loosie Thomas Allen put in a powerful performance against Mount Maunganui College. Photo/Andrew Warner
Bethlehem College loosie Thomas Allen put in a powerful performance against Mount Maunganui College. Photo/Andrew Warner

Mount Maunganui College's chances at home against Bethlehem College on Saturday were swept away by a strong wind they failed to use in a key Bay of Plenty Secondary Schools Division 1 clash.

With it at their backs in the first half, they attempted to play far too much rugby; with it in their face in the second they saw the pill sail over their heads and often into the backs of houses lining Waitui Grove.

It likely would not have mattered - Bethlehem College were excellent and have clearly improved through competing in the Chiefs Trophy - but the decision-making only served to emphasis the visitors' decided advantage at the breakdown.

The Bethlehem College loose forward unit of Matt Leppard, Thomas Allen and Diardu Terblanche were superb. Each scored a try in the opening half, and between them the trio accounted for five tries and a mountain of work in both the loose and the tight.

Terblanche beat two men down the short side from a scrum for the opener, before Allen crashed over on the left hand side shortly after.

Mount second-five Pomare Tane charged down a clearance from the kickoff and showed good speed and strength to score to make it 10-5, but Leppard cancelled that out with a 50 metre solo effort to make it 15-5.

The hosts kicked a penalty to tighten the gap, but down on points and with the wind at their backs looked to have passed on a rear attacking opportunity.

Allen underlined that before the break when he proved too strong close to the line, as did impressive Mount prop JD Grant, who barged over from a quick tap to make it 22-13.

Excellent Bethlehem College defence and field kicking, along with the wind, meant the Mount never scored again, while Bethlehem added tries to Leppard, fullback Chris Johnston and lock Sam Waddell.

Bethlehem College First XV 42 (Matt Leppard 2, Thomas Allen 2, Diardu Terblanche, Sam Waddell, Chris Johnston tries; Jack Preston 2 cons, pen) Mount Maunganui College First XV 13 (Pomare Tane, JD Grant tries; Tama Taite pen)

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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