Rugby: Rangihuna on target as Bay downs Wellington

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Talk about contrasting goalkicking fortunes for Hawke's Bay under-20s rugby halfback Sheridan Rangihuna.

A week after missing four of his nine attempts at goal Rangihuna succeeded with all eight attempts as Alexander Construction Hawke's Bay maintained their unbeaten run in their Hurricanes competition with a 37-27 win against Wellington at Park Island on Saturday. The 2011 New Zealand Secondary Schools halfback finished the match with 22 points - six penalties and two conversions.

A son of former Poverty Bay and Bay of Plenty first five-eighth, Api Rangihuna, Rangihuna, was happy to reveal the secrets to his and his team's success.

"We all went along to watch the Magpies last night and saw one of our players [Penikolo Latu] playing for the Magpies. We all said to each other we can all get up to that level if we keep playing the way we are," Rangihuna said.

"As for my goalkicking ... I did a bit of extra work with Osh [Goalkicking coach Peter O'Shaughnessy] at McLean Park during the week. Last week I was bit off because it has been a while since the club season finished and I hadn't been doing as much goalkicking training as I should have," Rangihuna, who scored 197 points for Napier Tech during the premier club season, said.

Bay stuck to their game plan of moving their bigger Wellington opponents around at pace to tire them out well.

Despite carrying a knee injury Bay blindside flanker Aaron McPhee produced a huge defensive workrate to pip Rangihuna for the hosts' player-of-the-match award. Former New Zealand Secondary Schools No8 Levi Guildford was again tireless on defence and devastating on the carry.

Bay's frontrow of captain and hooker Rhys Marshall and props Wiremu Cottrell and Jason Long was powerful at scrum time against bigger opponents and all three had big defensive workrates.

Second five-eighth Ted Walters, who played alongside Latu and Rangihuna in the Gisborne Boys' High School 1st XV last year, was a rock on defence and always dangerous on attack.

A work on which must be a priority in the side's buildup to Saturday's away match against Taranaki and the following week's final in Palmerston North is their aerial play. Their inability to secure ball at kick off time and at lineout time left a lot to be desired.

However considering 17 of the squad including four who are under 18 are eligible for the team next year every player and member of the coaching staff can be proud of the progress this team has made this season.

"You just have to listen to the positive talk from our substitutes on the sideline to gauge how far this team has come. The team spirit and brotherhood within this squad is up with the best in any team I've been involved with," manager Blair Heasley explained.

The Breakers Cafe and Bar Hawke's Bay Under-16s lost 21-12 to their Poverty Bay counterparts in Saturday's Park Island curtainraiser.

Considering Poverty Bay is a division two outfit and Bay a division one side for next week's Hurricanes tournament in Wellington it was a disappointing rehearsal from the hosts. Bay were far too individualistic and this made it easy for the Poverty Bay defensive systems.

Substitute midfield back Jonah Lowe, who scored both of Bay's tries, was the pick of the hosts' backs and substitute prop Sean Morrison had some memorable patches.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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