Rugby: Central co-coach shows not only winners grinners

By Shane Hurndell

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WRAPPED UP: Central's Keith Whelpton tries to bust through the tackle of Taradale's Nick Biss (left) and Mike Lachlan as Central's Robbie Barr supports. PHOTO/Paul Taylor
WRAPPED UP: Central's Keith Whelpton tries to bust through the tackle of Taradale's Nick Biss (left) and Mike Lachlan as Central's Robbie Barr supports. PHOTO/Paul Taylor

It may not have been a win but Central co-coach Rob Evans was still a happy man after yesterday's Nash Cup premier rugby fixture in Tikokino.

"Thirteen of us in the Central team went to Smedley Station so it was awesome to bring the game out here to Mathews Park. It was an opportunity for us to show the Smedley boys what they can aspire to if they can secure jobs in the region and want to stay in the region," Evans said after Northfuels Central's 24-10 third-round loss to Carters Frame and Truss Taradale.

Smedley Station is where school leavers train for agriculture jobs and many play for the Onga Tiko Colts who played in yesterday's curtainraiser. Taradale co-coach Blair Cross was thrilled his side could support the occasion.

He was just as delighted with his team's second-half comeback after they trailed 10-0 at halftime. Centre Nick Biss produced a player-of-the-match effort for the visitors.

Biss combined well with Billy Ropiha in the midfield.

Flanker Tom Stanley and lock Scott Wielinga were prominent in the winning pack.

Winger Harry De Lautour was Central's best back while locks Hugh Graham and Lance Baker were gutsy in the host pack. Taradale scored two tries when Central player-coach and first five-eighth Tafai Ioasa was sinbinned in the second spell.

On Thursday night, IMS Payroll Hastings Rugby and Sports adapted to the atrocious weather conditions better as they beat Tamatea 33-10 at Elwood Park.

Hastings co-coach Aaron Bartlett praised his tight five. Lock Tom Parsons was inspirational and the frontrow of captain and hooker Tivaini Fomai and props Jason Long and Charlie Faiumu dominated for most of the game. Halfback Adam Ross relished this and scored three tries.

First five-eighth Angus Compton, who scored the other try and kicked three penalties and two conversions, controlled play well with options appropriate to the weather.

"To get five competition points in these conditions was tremendous," Bartlett said.

Tamatea co-coach Aaron Painter said: "It was disappointing ... we didn't adapt to the conditions as well as we should have."

Second five-eighth Fai Kereti scored Tamatea's try, which he converted, and first five-eighth Jimmy Harris kicked a penalty. Halfback Wayne Nikora was the best Tamatea back while prop Iese Mulitalo and flanker Junior Faifua were tireless in the visiting pack.

Today's games will see MAC host unbeaten competition leaders Hawke's Bay Insurances Limited Napier Old Boys Marist in their first outing at Flaxmere Park, their new home ground, Progressive Meats Havelock North host Clive at Anderson Park and Tanalised Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports host Tech Group of Companies Napier Technical at Park Island.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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