Rugby: Back to back titles delight coach

By Barry Leabourn

Mount Maunganui Colts coach Mike Furey celebrated his return to the coaching ranks after a five-year sabbatical, when his age group charges took out back-to-back Seeka KI Western Bay of Plenty Colts titles on Saturday.

Playing at home on Blake Park in front of a good sized crowd, the Mount dominated the first spell to take a 19-3 advantage into the halftime break. Mount first five Guy Hilton touched down his side's first try, with number 11 Shem Wharerearau adding a second five pointer. The home side's third try came when number 8 Ben Mellow crashed over, with Nick Oldham adding two conversions.

Mount Maunganui moved further in front in the second half with Oldham slotting a penalty goal. Greerton then roared back into the match, with a converted try but were still trailing by 12 with just minutes remaining in the game. A well-worked attack by the visitors paid dividends with their second touchdown - and with time running out, the Greerton kicker elected to drop kick the conversion attempt, which sailed between the uprights from near the sideline. There was real jubilation displayed by the Mount team, when the referee signalled the end of the match, with the scoreboard showing a 22-17 victory to the defending champions.

Furey said the victory was based upon a solid forward pack, who took the game to Greerton in spite of a weight disadvantage.

"The solid performance in the first half where we scored three tries paid dividends, when Greerton went on the offensive in the second spell."

The Mount coach singled out prop Leigh Hughes, who toiled away in the tight all day, as his player of the day.

The title is Furey's third after previous success in 1997 and 2005. His coaching philosophy has always been based on doing the basics right, with success coming from old fashioned hard work.

Meanwhile, a big upset and amazing come-from-behind victory dominated the Western Bay local senior competition. Defending titleholders Tauranga Sports lost their first game of the 2013 title race and their unbeaten record, when Rangataua prevailed 23-19 in the early match at Te Ariki Park. The Hardy Rosebowl also changed hands for the first time this season.

Matakana Island supporters could only shake their heads in bewilderment after Greerton Marist came back from a 24-point deficit to defeat Matakana by four. The islanders led 30-6 at the break, before Greerton stormed back into the game to triumph 45-41 at Greerton Park.

Arataki got past Judea 29-22, Mount Maunganui defeated Te Puke Sports 49-12 and Katikati defeated Eastern Districts 29-18.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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