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SHANE HURNDELL
Eskview rugby prop Tineka Thompson wants a starting berth in the Hawke's Bay Tuis' NPC division one campaign.
Thompson signalled her intentions to Tennyson Tuis coach Albie Hawea with an outstanding workrate in the team's 17-3 pre-NPC win against second division Manawatu at Clive on Saturday.
Hawea gave his frontrow options plenty of scrutiny as three of his props from last season, Taradale's Gina Pomana, and the Clive pair of Ruth Hawkins and Rayner Te Huia, are unavailable this season.
"I gave Tineka more game time than I originally planned and she responded well. All the other newcomers did well too," Hawea said.
He did not put many of his experienced players on until the final 20 minutes to give his newcomers ample time to strut their stuff. Eskview's blindside flanker Karlee Waru, Taradale halfback Gemma Woods and Taradale centre Ngahuri Thompson were other newcomers to impress Hawea.
Thompson had a superb defensive workrate, Woods shone with her distribution and Waru was tireless in all aspects of the loose forward play. Of the experienced players, prop Vicki Peni, lock Mary Robinson and Black Ferns winger Amy Williams all made the most of their game time.
Williams scored a spectacular in-and-out try. Hooker Helen McGregor and replacement halfback Lisa Ropiha scored the Bay's other tries while first five-eighth Rebecca Hull kicked a conversion.
Even without Black Ferns captain and hooker Farah Palmer the big Manawatu pack operated well.
"You could tell Manawatu had played Wellington the previous week. They had a bit of structure there and they gave us the type of game we wanted in the buildup to next weekend's NPC opener against Otago," Hawea said.
His troops host Otago in the curtainraiser to the Kelt Capital Magpies NPC second division opener against defending champions Nelson Bays at McLean Park on Saturday.