Rugby: Winitana switch aids Tamatea

By Shane Hurndell

It's a sight which would have had Hawks basketball boss Rod Earnshaw cringing and on the edge of his seat had he been among the spectators at Napier's Park Island on Saturday.

HBS Bank Hawks captain, 2004 Olympian Paora Winitana, played for Tamatea in a first round Tui Maddison Trophy fixture against Napier Old Boys Marist in Hawke's Bay's premier club rugby competition. Winitana's appearance and the fact it was the Tamatea club's "jubilee weekend" celebrating their 50th year since coming out of recess almost inspired the Nui Bartlett-coached outfit to the upset of the round.

"Paora was inspirational to the boys. He's a natural athlete with a lot to offer and it's great he's available for the rest of our season now his basketball commitments have finished," Bartlett explained after Tamatea's 24-18 loss to a team which finished five places above them in the Nash Cup competition.

"It was good to get the bonus point but at the same time we know we could have had a win. A few crucial errors at the wrong times and some bad options let us down."

"We've made another step in the right direction and if we can consistently back up this display we will knock a few teams over," Bartlett said.

Winger Winitana, 35, made a couple of try-saving tackles. He was unlucky to fumble a pass in a tryscoring situation.

Flankers Hamiora Rowlands and BJ Bland and first five-eighth Anaru Bartlett were all prominent in the courageous team effort from Tamatea.

"It was disappointing we got four competition points instead of five. We were unable to finish opportunities just like them," Hawke's Bay Insurances Limited NOBM coach Mike Warren said.

"We knew they would be pumped on what was a special weekend for Tamatea and they proved that," Warren added.

Former Samoa hooker Semiperive Semeane was again the best of the NOBM forwards. Magpies captain and No 8 Mike Coman had some memorable patches and experienced winger Migao Lauano was always dangerous when given the opportunity.

Hastings 47 Pirate 22

Hastings Rugby and Sports coach Aaron Bartlett was tipping one of his locks, Tom Parsons, for higher honours after this club day victory against the defending champions at Elwood Park.

"If Tom isn't in the Magpies pack come ITM Cup time I'll be surprised," Bartlett, a former Magpies lock, said.

Parsons, a son of former Magpie Rod Parsons, returned to the Bay this season after a stint in Canterbury and was again busy in a host pack well led by captain and openside flanker Tivaini Fomai who was the player-of-the-day. Fomai and two of his brothers, midfield back Ausage and winger Neria, were all among the tryscorers as the hosts retained the Challenge Trophy. The victory means IMS Payroll Hastings Rugby and Sports have beaten both of last season's finalists on consecutive weekend.

"It does give us confidence but we've still got our feet on the ground. We know we have to keep working hard," Bartlett added.

"We turned up but we didn't front up," a disappointed Pirate side's manager Murray Kennedy lamented.

Another former Hawks basketballer, Roger McPherson, playing at lock and former Magpies hooker Danny Logan toiled tirelessly in the Pirate pack. Fullback Nick McLennan was the pick of the visiting backs.

Taradale 55 MAC 13

Former New Zealand age group representative Dan Waenga provided plenty of spark for Taradale in this win at Carters Arms Park.

First five-eighth Waenga has returned to the Bay this season to play for the Magpies again after a couple of seasons with Bay of Plenty and this was his first club outing in the province this season.

"We started with a hiss and a roar and kept the pressure on," elated Taradale manager Paul Atkins said.

Atkins surprised MAC coach Anthony Morley by not including Waenga on his MVP list which included openside flanker Kaleb Sweet, Hawke's Bay speedway personality Mike McLachlan, who had his first premier outing for the hosts at prop, and fullback Manihera Eden who scored three of Taradale's eight tries.

"Taradale are a much improved team and shouldn't be under estimated," Morley warned.

"On a couple of occasions we were pressuring their line and turned the ball over and they scored down the other end. Crucial moment like that let us down," Morley added before singling out captain and lock Everard Reid, prop Luke Tihema and openside flanker Willie Benson as his team's best.

Havelock 71 Central 5

Former Wairarapa Bush winger Mike Vuicaukau scored four tries as Nash Cup holders Progressive Meats Havelock North returned to the winning path with this romp at Anderson Park.

However Magpies wider training group member, flanker Tony Lamborn, won the hosts player-of-the-match award with a massive workrate. Lamborn scored a 70 metre try and during his run broke three tackles, stepped two defenders and burnt two backs. Halfback Isaac Paewai was again full of authority for the villagers.

Former Havelock North and Magpies No.8 Exham Wichman scored Central's only try. Central assistant coach Mike Kupa said the visitors effort didn't reflect the training during the week and Havelock again had too much pace out wide. Locks Hugh Graham and Lance Baker and prop Marcus Jackson had a never-say-die approach in the Central pack.

Tech 67 Clive 13

Tech Group of Companies Napier Technical's backs produced some entertaining play in this victory at Whitmore Park.

Tech manager Cyril Whitburn was rapt the hosts backs scored seven of their 11 tries.

Openside flanker Angus Benson and prop Ash Dixon both battled effectively in the Tech pack while midfield back Shane Lui defended well and provided plenty of space for his outside backs.

Hooker Nathan Rolls and veteran No 8 Sam Ebbitt were the pick of the Clive forwards while halfback Rob Murray distributed what little possession his side won well.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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