Good tactics lead to good results and the game plan was obvious when Waverley Harvesting Border and Wanganui Car Centre Kaierau clashed on Saturday.

The heavens opened 10 minutes into the Tasman Tanning Premier Wanganui Rugby semifinal, making an already muddy Dallison Park completely boggy.

This is not an uncommon scene during a rugby season, especially in New Zealand and both teams knew what they needed to do to win the game.

The game became about forcing turnovers, kicking long and into space from your own half and keeping tight on attack, using the pick and go effectively.

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Both teams changed tactics, but Border executed their game plan more efficiently, scoring a try on fulltime to win 19-3 and claim a place in the final.

Border coach Ross Williams said playing in such sloppy conditions was a good lesson for his team.

Ethan Robinson gave Kaierau the chance to take a 3-0 lead early when his grubber forced a Border player to tackle him late, but teammate Shandon Scott missed the shot at goal. Photo / Lewis Gardner
Ethan Robinson gave Kaierau the chance to take a 3-0 lead early when his grubber forced a Border player to tackle him late, but teammate Shandon Scott missed the shot at goal. Photo / Lewis Gardner

"Early on we were running into the wind and that was going to be a challenge. We weren't going to kick a lot, but that rain came in and narrowed things up," he said.

"At the end of the day it was the team that could hold on to the ball longer and create the most pressure that was going to get the result."

Kaierau were quick out of the gate, kicking high and forcing Border to spill the ball into the hands of winger Te Tua Kemp who went for a gallop.

Kemp was tackled and Kaierau sent the ball to midfielder Ethan Robinson who grubbered ahead and was taken out late, earning his side a penalty.

First five-eighth Shandon Scott lined up a shot at goal and struck it accurately, but the ball held up in the swirling wind and dropped short.

It was Border who earned the next shot at goal and as the ball sailed up to the right of the posts, the rain came down.

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The match was scoreless after 20 minutes, but Border had momentum, turning Kaierau around with big kicks into space and chasing them hard.

They did it on the back of their forwards, such as No 8 Chris Brewer who went ahead with every run he made before coming off early in the second half.

After an extended period of attack, Border were rewarded for their efforts when Kaierau were penalised and Nick Harding slotted the first points of the match.

Kaierau were on the back foot, their discipline was letting them down, kicks were landing straight in the hands of Border players and passes were going to ground.

Soon enough they were penalised again, and again Harding kicked a penalty goal to double Border's lead.

Border were making all the right moves at all the right times, but Kaierau kept fighting and finally they found a way into the game.

They had to keep kicking to touch because Border's lineout was a shambles with jumpers being beaten and the ball being overthrown or dropped.

Kaierau did exactly that on the back of a great counter-attack from fullback Karl Pascoe, who beat three defenders.

They stole Border's lineout ball, going on offence in enemy territory for just the second time in the game and earned themselves a penalty.

Border players such as halfback Lindsay Horrocks kicked well, finding space at the back and putting Kaierau under pressure with their kick chases. Photo / Lewis Gardner
Border players such as halfback Lindsay Horrocks kicked well, finding space at the back and putting Kaierau under pressure with their kick chases. Photo / Lewis Gardner

Scott scored the goal to make it 6-3 and Kaierau were still well in the match with 10 minutes of the half remaining.

Although it had been their lineout giving them issues, it was Border's scrum that was problematic as the half neared a conclusion.

With seconds remaining, Kaierau put pressure on a Border feed, forced a knock-on and were then awarded a penalty when the next scrum set down.

Unbelievably, Scott was lining up a shot at goal to put Kaierau on level terms with Border, but it was too good to be true and the ball hit the left post.

Williams said his team deserved to be leading at the break.

"Defence from both sides was really excellent, but we were the ones at the right end of the field getting those penalties.

"I don't take anything away from Kaierau though, they're a hell of a football side. They came down here and really gave it to us."

Unfortunately for Kaierau, it was more of the same in the second half with kicks failing to find space, penalties being conceded and ball being dropped.

Border invited them back in with their lineout struggles, but despite this, it was them that scored first, again through a Harding penalty 55 minutes in.

From there the teams went back and forth for some time, with neither looking like getting close to the try line.

With 10 minutes remaining, Border finally got it right, won a lineout and got a huge rolling maul in motion, which was dragged to the ground, resulting in a penalty.

A pressure shot at goal to put Border two scoring plays clear was called for and when Harding nailed it, a Kaierau win felt impossible.

And it was.

Kaierau threw everything they had left at Border in an effort to score a try, even pulling off a cross field kick, but, they continued shooting themselves in the foot.

Errors kept giving the ball back to Border, who went back to their driving maul tactic with time practically up and this time when it went down, they carried on.

The pick and go approach was adopted by Border's forwards, who were the difference makers and at 80 minutes Kampeli Latu barged over for a try.

Kaierau coach Carl Gibson said the key to Border's victory was that they used the ball better in the rough conditions.

"They kicked in-behind, they knew the ground well and used it for positional play. They outplayed us there," Gibson said.

"They put pressure on us with their loose forwards consistently. There were a couple of times we got go-forward and they rushed our defence.

"Our boys, our preparation, we put everything we possibly could into this and we just got beaten by a better team on the day."

Border 19 (K Latu try; N Harding 4 pen, con) Kaierau 3 (S Scott pen). HT: 6-3.