Heartland Championship Week 1
August 20, 2022, 2:30 pm
King Country
30 - 22
Poverty Bay RFU
Te Kuiti
Poverty Bay RFU
Referee: Mike Winter

Match Report

King Country claim win over Wekas in opener

KING Country Rams did not win a game in the 2021 Heartland Championship season.

They are one from one in 2022 after beating Poverty Bay Wekas 30-22 in the season-opener in Te Kuiti on Saturday.

Both teams put on a strong display and the Bay were unlucky to return home with no points after a long and frustrating journey just to get to their destination in the first place.

Before kick-off, Civil Project Solutions Wekas laid the challenge down with a haka and placed a Poverty Bay jersey on the halfway line to recognise King 100th year.

The home side were first to score — first five Quinn Collard knocking over a penalty in the first few minutes.

The Wekas dominated territory in the first half, putting pressure on the Rams in the ruck and maul.

They set up camp in the opposition half, keeping the ball tight in the forwards and defending strongly when the Rams had ball in hand.

When King Country winger Zach Wickham-Darlington was yellow-carded for discipline issues the Wekas capitalised. From a lineout in the 23rd minute, Poverty Bay drove towards the line and powerhouse prop James Higgins scored from a pick and go.

Winger Moses Christie slotted the conversion.

The Rams struck back when Collard put up a high kick, fullback Oliver Foote collected the ball and ran 50 metres to the line.

Collard added the two.

Christie kicked a penalty and the teams went into halftime locked at 10-all.

The elusive Christie put the Wekas ahead early in the second spell after the visitors attacked on the blindside from a ruck. Christie weaved through two defenders on his way to the the try line and added the conversion for a 17-10 lead.

King Country surged back and after strong Wekas defence kept them at bay for eight phases on the five, a penalty was conceded and Collard added the three.

Back came the Wekas.

Higgins made a huge run downfield, bursting through tackles and giving his side go-forward. With the Rams stretched, the ball was shifted wide only for winger Wickham-Darlington to intercept and run 70 metres to score, with Collard coverting..

It was a huge blow for the Bay. From looking like increasing their lead, they were suddenly 20-17 down.

That became 23-17 when Collard slotted another penalty and the Rams, sensing an end to their losing streak, were not done yet.

They began to spend more time in the Wekas’ half and after multiple phases, halfback Zayn Tipping found a gap and stretched out to score.

Collard added the points to put them 30-17 ahead.

The Wekas were down but far from out.

Replacement second five Ricardo Patricio scythed through in a 30-metre run, then passed to first five Mitch Purvis, who was brought down 10 metres out from the line. Quick ball to centre Tione Hubbard saw him go over to cut the deficit to eight points.

The Wekas fought to the end for a win but couldn’t quite convert the pressure into more points as King Country celebrated a rare win.

Poverty Bay head coach Miah Nikora said there was still plenty to learn and work on.

“We like to try to play with a bit of tempo,” he said.

“Clean-outs I think still need to be more accurate and the conditions (boggy and heavy) made it more difficult.”

The Wekas’ scrum was strong and the lineout went well.

“We just have to have the right mental mindset.”

The Wekas have a 3-2-1 points system for man of the match. Lock Reedy got three, No.8 Adrian Wyrill two and Christie one.

The Wekas have their first home game this Saturday against Wairarapa Bush at Rugby Park. It is also a Bill Osborne Taonga challenge match. The Bay hold the Taonga.

King Country 30 (Oliver Foote, Zach Wickham-Darlington, Zayn Tipping tries; Quinn Collard 3 con, 3 pen)
Poverty Bay Wekas 22 (James Higgins, Tione Hubbard, Moses Christie tries; Christie 2 con, pen).

HT: 10-all.


Name TR CON PEN DG Cards
1 1
7 1 2 1
11 1
1441 Shayde Skudder (c)


Name TR CON PEN DG Cards
1427 Lance Dickson James Higgins
1497 Rikki Terekia Shayde Skudder
1347 Mario Counsell Ruan A. du Plooy
1545 Ricardo Patricio Te Peehi H.H. Fairlie
1495 Jesse Kapene Keanu Taumata
1541 Tulsa Kaui Toru Noanoa
1551 Matt Te Rangi Rutene Braedyn Grant
1553 Kupu Lloyd Kesomi (Niko) Lauti