Heartland Championship week 2 - Bill Osborne Taonga
August 27, 2022, 2:30 pm
Poverty Bay RFU
30 - 26
Wairarapa Bush
Poverty Bay RFU
Referee: Marcus Playle

Match Report

The Bill Osborne Taonga and the Jeremy David Memorial Cup remain in their territory.

No stopping this try: Poverty Bay winger Te Peehi Fairlie losses the tackler as he runs in a try against Wairarapa Bush on Saturday.
The Wekas won the game 30-26 and retained the Bill Osborne Taonga and the Jeremy David Memorial trophy. Picture by Paul Rickard

Civil Project Solutions Poverty Bay Wekas got their first win of the Heartland Championship season — beating Wairapapa Bush 30-26 at Rugby Park on Saturday.

The win was also their first defence of the Bill Osborne Taonga challenge trophy and they retained the Jeremy David Memorial Trophy played for between the Bay and the Bush.

This game also marked a special occasion for two Bay players, with fullback Braedyn Grant and Ngahiwi Manuel making their first-class debuts for the Bay.

And the Bush created their own piece of history when Stan Wright snr and son Stan Wright jnr suited up.

Snr was called in from being the scrum-coach to replace prop James Coburn when he went down with a calf injury during warm up.

Conditions were not favourable but the forecast was for much worse.

“It was meant to be bucketing down . . . weather dependent, we looked to play an expansive game,” said Wekas captain and lock Dan Law, back in the side after missing their opening game.

Wairarapa came with a purpose and desire but the Wekas had done their homework, studying footage of the Bush’s Week 1 match against North Otago (a 35-5 loss).

It did the job.

“We identified that their defence was fairly narrow in that game last weekend so we tried to attack that,” Law said.

“Wairarapa came at us strongly and stayed with us right to the end and we knew they would. Hats off to them. Big heart team.”

Bush head coach Mark Rutene was disappointed but recognised the hard work the Wekas had put in.

“They’re a good team. They like to move the ball and they showed the intent right from the start,” Rutene said.

“Our tackling let us down. Too many first tackles (were missed) and then they got a roll on.

“That was probably key . . . that and discipline. We were warned about it but we gave away a lot of penalties and penalties are turnovers.”

The Wekas went ahead with a penalty kick to fullback Moses Christie in the eighth minute.

The Bush responded two minutes later. They claimed a tightead from a scrum 15 metres from the tryline. Halfback Darryl Pickering went to the blindside and fed number eight Jack Loader who charged over

But pressure is the key influencer in sport and the Wekas began to apply plenty of it.

They squeezed the Bush on defence and kept them in their half.

In the 15th minute, Wekas halfback Mario Counsell passed to first five Ruan du Plooy and he weaved through a gap in the defence and offloaded to No.8 Jesse Kapene on the burst and he dotted down next to the left upright.

Christie added the conversion for a 10-5 lead.

The Bush fought back and won an attacking lineout five metres from the line in the 23rd minute. They secured the ball from the throw and from a pick and go, prop Tupou Lea’aemanu crashed over.

First five Adrian Champion added the conversion to put the Bush 12-10 ahead.

Real tug of war

The lead didn’t last long, Christie smacking over a 38-metre penalty kick in what had become a real tug of war.

The Bush were next to strike. They steered play into the Wekas’ half and muscled up, keeping it tight and using first receivers to bash it up.

They were rewarded in the 38th minute when Lea’aemanu picked up his second try with a strong run finished off under the posts.

Champion’s conversion gave the visitors a 19-13 halftime lead.

The Wekas started the second 40 with intent to set up camp in the Bush half.

Quick thinking and vision by du Plooy saw him sent a grubber kick behind the Bush defensive line and into the in-goal area for winger Te Peehi Fairlie to run on to and score in the 58th minute.

Christie’s conversion retook the lead 20-19.

Du Plooy was next on the tryscoring list after openside flanker Keanu Taumata stole a Bush lineout in the 66th minute.

From good support play and fast ball movement, centre Teddy Walters sprinted through a gap on the halfway line and offloaded to replacement halfback Ricardo Patricio at the 22m mark.

He drew in the last man and passed to du Plooy who dived over for a try.

Christie added the trimming for a 27-19 lead and extended it with another penalty in the 73rd minute.

The Bush weren’t about to give up and were rewarded when fullback Aseri Waqa scored a try in the 78th minute and Champion kicked the conversion.

Christie played a vital part in the win.

His kicking game has gone to another level — a 100 percent success rate on Saturday.

Law knows how important home games are and what it means to the team when they play at Rugby Park.

“A big thanks to the supporters again.”

A small crowd enjoyed an entertaining game and the union would love to see more people over the season.

“Obviously, getting the support down here and supporting us at every home game would be unreal,” Law said.

“The more numbers here, the better the boys play.”


Name TR CON PEN DG Cards
1532 Dan Law (c)
8 1
10 1
11 1
15 3 3


Name TR CON PEN DG Cards
1554 Ngahiwi Manuel Shayde Skudder
1541 Tulsa Kaui Toru Noanoa
1427 Lance Dickson James Higgins
1549 Adriaan Brits Fletcher Scammell
1525 Kesomi (Niko) Lauti Jesse Kapene
1552 Braedyn Grant Mario Counsell
1545 Ricardo Patricio Tione Hubbard
1512 Jacob Leaf Mitchell Purvis