Timely return for OBM mainstay
RUGBY - BM will be without dynamic flanker Efoti Moimoi but will have skipper and lock-cum-loosie Murray Hewson back for tomorrow’s top-of-the-table clash with Ngatapa.

Moimoi injured his right knee playing for Poverty Bay against Ngati Porou East Coast last weekend and is out for up to four weeks.

Hewson, who missed the annual Queen’s Birthday match because of a knee injury, returns for round four of the Cosmopolitan Club premier club competition.

“Losing Efoti is a huge blow, no doubt abut that,” said Enterprise Cars OBM coach Stu Blair.

“But injuries are part and parcel of sport and getting Muzza (Hewson) back offsets the loss of Efoti a bit.

“We also won’t have David Philander, who’s still away with the Namibian team preparing for world cup qualifying games.

“If you look around at other clubs, particularly High School Old Boys, there are teams worse off than us regarding injuries. I feel for HSOB.”

OBM’s other Bay representative, Puna Latu, came through the derby match unhurt. Latu will once again be a key man against a Larsawn Ngatapa side sitting top of the table on 19 points — five more than OBM and four ahead of YMP — and with home advantage.

“Puna and Muzza are players you could give the man-of-the-match award to every week,” Blair said. “They never seem to play a bad game.”

Latu, a player who rarely loses possession when he takes the ball into contact and is a terrier when it comes to securing loose ball, will wear the No.7 jersey.

“He’s a bloody good footballer,” Blair said.

Hewson, one of the Bay’s most consistent players as a lock, could make his comeback at the back of the scrum or at lock.

“We’ll make a decision on that closer to kick-off,” Blair said. “He can be effective coming off the back of the scrum — so much so I think he could do a job for the Bay at No.8.”

Blair called in two former Bay players to help at training this week.

“I got Sam Cairns in to do some work with the forwards and on the scrum machine. Johnny Whittle also had a session with the backs.

“It’s good to get a different perspective every now and then but Ngatapa are a classy side.

“They’re definitely the team to beat.”

Ngatapa coach Steve Ward and assistant Matt Doyle have assembled a team with a good blend of experience and youth.

“I know a few of their young guys first-hand from helping Matt with the Bay under-20s last year,” said Blair. “They seem to be getting better with every week.”

Poverty Bay coach Mutu Ngarimu rewarded Ngatapa for their outstanding start to the season by naming six players in his 22-man squad who beat the Coast 30-14 on Saturday.

Halfback Sam Parkes, first five-eighth Tim Gardner, centre Scott Milne and loose forward Sione Ngatu, Ben Payne and Paddy Allen all made valuable contributions to the victory.

Another Ngatapa player who must have gone close to rep selection is skipper and No.8 Martin Bayley.

Bayley has been a stand-out performer for the green and whites, who will also have last season’s Bay prop Campbell Chrisp pushing for a place in the starting line-up as he recovers from a knee operation.

MORE CLUB RUGBY ON PAGE 34

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