Poverty Bay ended their 2022 Heartland Championship campaign on a high — trouncing West Coast 41-17 in Greymouth on Saturday.
The Civil Project Solutions Poverty Bay Wekas ran in seven tries to three to make it two wins from their last two games.
It placed them 10th on the 12-province table on 16 points — two points from the top eight. Wairarapa Bush (13pts) and West Coast (7pts) were behind them.
“The boys fronted and played an expansive game, which paid off,” Poverty Bay head coach Miah Nikora said.
“The weather was good and we played really well in the first half.
“We were able to move the ball out to the edges and our wings were able to score. It was a good day to be on the edges.”
Nikora said centre and man of the match Ethine Reeves worked well in the midfield with second five Ted Walters.
“Ethine showed great footwork and broke the opposition defensive line many times.
“Seth Lundon (lock) got a late call-up and it paid off with a great try.”
The hosts had a tough time containing the Wekas, who piled on 22 unanswered points in the first half through tries to hooker Shayde Skudder and wingers Hunter Mokomoko and Te Peehi Fairlie (two tries).
Fullback Moses Christie kicked a conversion.
West Coast struck back early in the second half but the Wekas quickly responded with a try to No.8 Tamanui Hill, converted by Christie.
Lundon went over for a five-pointer in the 67th — which replacement fullback Ricardo Patricio converted — sparking the home side into action and they scored two tries to close the deficit to 34-17.
Replacement back Braedyn Grant had the last say with a try in the 79th minute, consigning West Coast to their eight consecutive loss although they did pick up seven bonus points over the season.
The Wekas, who beat third-placed Thames Valley 29-17 the week before and beat Warirapa Bush in Week 2, were left to rue a couple of lost opportunities in earlier games — Whanganui and Ngāti Porou East Coast — which were to prove costly in the bid for playoffs spots.
However, the foundation and groundwork has been laid for next season and their winning finish to 2022 will have boosted confidence and positivity in the camp.
Poverty Bay 41 (Te Peehi Fairlie 2, Shayde Skudder, Hunter Mokomoko, Tamanui Hill, Seth Lundon, Braedyn Grant tries; Christie 3 con). West Coast 17 (Logan Ross, Elliot Smith, Jaime Garland tries; Ross con)