Slick Uni outclass Bay,Jersey gifting a ‘tremendous gesture’ by uni students
IT is said that every cloud has a silver lining, and so it was for the 22 players who fronted up for Poverty Bay in a 64-0 hiding dished out by a classy New Zealand Universities side at Rugby Park last night.
Following the 10-tries-to-none defeat each member of the Bay side was presented with the silver fern jersey worn by his counterpart.
“It was an unexpected and tremendous gesture by Brendon Timmins (NZ University coach) and his players, said Bay coach Mutu Ngarimu, a former New Zealand Maori player, who, for various reasons, gave seven players their Bay starting debuts last night.
“For most of our players it is the closest they’ll get to wearing the silver fern jersey. I’m stoked for them.”
Timmins said his players were happy to hand over their playing strip.
“Each of our players will receive a jersey to keep but it’s the least we could do after Poverty Bay took on this game,” Timmins said. “We were supposed to play Kanto (East Japan) but they had to pull out.
“We met with (Gisborne artist/composer/Maori leader) Derek Lardelli (who gifted them their team haka) last year and he spoke about us bringing the team here. We’re very grateful that Poverty Bay gave us the opportunity to play them.”
Ngarimu and Bay co-captains James Grogan and TK Moeke were proud of the team performance.
“I’m not proud of the result but I’m certainly proud of the way the boys played with heart for 80 minutes,” Ngarimu said. “We had club games on Saturday, the boys fronted up for training on Sunday and then took on a quality side tonight.”
Grogan, playing at No.8 instead of his usual openside role, tackled himself to a standstill.
A class team“They were a class team — big, strong, fast and fit,” he said. “I played Heartland rugby last year but this was a huge step up on that.
“Their speed, especially getting the ball out wide, was phenomenal and any time we got our hands on the ball and tried to attack, they were up in our faces in numbers. They shut us down so quickly we couldn’t get going.”
Moeke, another top performer, said “they gave us an insight to what top level rugby is all about”.
“Their passes were accurate and it gave them good go-forward. It’s up to us to come back together and the only way is up.”
While Moeke, Grogan and fullback Ethine Reeves were the standout players for the Bay, Jacob Cook, making his debut, and fellow lock Paddy Allen could be well pleased with their night’s work.
“The front row of Lance Dickson, Geoff Pari and Jamie Barnett did well against a powerful scrum,” said Ngarimu. “We got pushed around a bit but I give the boys credit; they kept coming back for more.
“I gave guys an opportunity to put their hands up and some of them took it. Jacob Cook never stopped working hard all night, typified by the way he tried to chase that guy down for the last try. He could have thrown the towel in but he didn’t. He made sure the guy had to keep going hard out to finish.
“Koro Miringaorangi (openside flanker) was another who impressed me. Playing at this level for the first time, he showed he has the attitude that I’m looking for.
“We’ve got a bit of time before we take on East Coast at Queen’s Birthday Weekend. We’ll use that time to get together as often as we can to work on individual skills and team structure.”
Halfback Mario Counsell played well considering he was behind a scrum that spent most of the night going backwards.
There were no weaknesses in a Universities team who included impressive Gisborne-raised blindside flanker Sam Godwin.
NZ Universities team led 38-0 at halftime and added another 26 unanswered points in the second 40.