Rugby: Wanganui turn it around

By David Ogilivie of the Wanganui Chronicle

What a difference a week makes.

Heartland Rugby Championship holder Wanganui has struggled to find form despite winning the first two weeks, but today, despite a high wind and heavy showers in Wanganui, the home side hit its straps with a bang to put away Poverty Bay 42-3.

Poverty Bay, perhaps lulled by Wanganui's habit of starting slowly and by its lack of real early season sting, made the mistake of offering Wanganui the first use of the wind.

Big mistake.

Wanganui's forwards hit the ground running, put away all the mistakes of the previous two weeks and had four tries and a bonus point within 25 minutes.

At that point - 28-3 - Poverty Bay was out of the game because the rain had started pouring and made the pursuit of a lot of points virtually impossible when it came to Poverty Bay's use of the second half wind.

To make it worse Wanganui fullback Ace Malo cracked the Bay line again near halftime and goalkicker Mark Davis kicked a magnificent touchline conversion across wind and rain to leave Poverty Bay 35-3 behind.

As it turned out, Poverty Bay showed little appreciation of how to play with the wind in the second half, kicking away too much possession, and never really showing the attacking ability it needed.

Poverty Bay attacked solidly for the final 10 minutes but were held out by a home defence that was just as good as its attack had been in the first 40 minutes.

It was a complete performance from the home side, much, much better than produced against either Mid Canterbury or Horowhenua Kapiti.

Leading the way were front rowers Vaasn Rauhina (two tries and powerhouse defence after being doubtful up until thursday) and Shaun McDonough, who was able to unleash his pwerhouse running with room to move.

Captain Peter Rowe, in his 75th game for the province, was unerring in his tackling, and in the backs Rhema Sagote was too strong at second-five for Poverty Bay's midfield defence.

Davis was at his best and the only kick he missed was when he slipped over on the treacherous footing.

Poverty Bay's lack of skill was pronounced in the difficult conditions - they were outplayed on all fronts.

Lock Murray Hewson and hyooker Henry Yortt were their best.

But it was Wanganui's day.

Wanganui 42 (Vaan Rauhina 2, Andrew Retallick, Ace Malo, Simon Dibben, Saul Chase tries; Mark Davis 6con) beat Poverty Bay 3 (Scott Leighton pen). HT: 35-3.


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