The Gisborne Herald’s Fraser Ruru reports
Defence wins rugby games and Tūranga Mana Wāhine showed grit to hold out a barrage of attacks from the Wairarapa Bush at Whitmore Park, Napier, on Sunday.
The Wāhine held on to win 10-0 through sheer willpower.
The Bush had won the battle of territory on the paddock and possession of the ball through much of the game but the Wāhine refused to return home defeated.
For the first 20 minutes the Bush held the ball and pushed through and set up camp in the Wāhine 22.
The Bush launched wave after wave of attacks towards the tryline, but the Wāhine fought them off with big defence and desperation.
The Wāhine defence did not relent, then finally the forwards recovered the ball. Securing it tight in the forwards, they moved and set up phases to create space for an attack.
Their hard work paid off when winger Amoe Wharehinga found a gap in the defence and broke free to score their first try and give them the lead.
For the first 20 minutes of the second half the Bush were back inside the Wāhine 22, showing the second half would be as tough as the first.
They tried to force their way into the in-goal area, but the Wāhine resisted and applied their own pressure.
The Bush became frustrated at not being able to penetrate the strong Wāhine defence.
The Wāhine then sent the ball out of their half and regained field position for an attacking opportunity.
Planting firmly in the ground to maintain control of the game, the Wāhine mounted a barrage of pick-and-go plays well inside the Bush 22.
The Wāhine forwards inched their way towards the tryline then, from the base of the ruck, centre Nikita Wharehinga busted through the middle of the field to score a try in the closing 10 minutes of the game to clinch victory, with a scoreline of 10-0.
Co-coach Lenny Ferris said the Wāhine worked well as a team to keep the Vixens from scoring.
“They just didn’t want to let them get over the line,” Ferris said.
“They showed grit and determination to hold them out for the 80 minutes.
“They showed resilience as individuals and as a team.”
The women have a bye and a well-deserved rest this weekend. The following weekend, the Wāhine will be at home to Ngāti Porou.