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Bay u18s beat Coast, to play for third place


POVERTY Bay’s under-18 rugby team have earned themselves a playoff game for third in a Hurricanes region competition after accounting for Ngati Porou East Coast’s u18 team.

They defeated the Coast 54-7 at Tokomaru Bay on Saturday and won two out of their three matches in the seeding rounds, heading into their final game this week.

In the playoff for third and fourth, Poverty Bay will play against the Wellington Samoans, who beat Wairarapa Bush 63-9 in their last game.

Poverty Bay u18 coach Willie Waitoa said the game against Ngati Porou East Coast was tight for the first 20 minutes, before Poverty Bay got the upper hand with their expansive game.

“The Coast never gave up,” Waitoa said.

“There were good physical exchanges and some big carries (of the ball).”

Promising Poverty Bay forward Ofa Tauatevalu scored three tries and was named most valuable player.

Niko Lauti, normally a centre for Gisborne Boys’ High School, was strong at No.8 and flanker Amos Roddick also shone in the forward pack.

Waitoa was impressed with the midfield pairing of Poumana Gemmell and TK Reihana.

He said the side had got better as the series went along.

Many players in the team would also still be eligible to play again next year.

Ngati Porou East Coast coach Jesse Haenga said his players did well, considering their limited time together.

Players who stood out included No.8 Manahi Mihaere and openside flanker Hunter Nuku, who both made a lot of ground, he said.

Halfback Te Ao Haenga was “everywhere” — making his tackles, and he was a handful on attack.

The Coast were to play Wairarapa Bush in the playoff for seventh and eighth.

Wanganui, who beat Poverty Bay in the first round, qualified top after their three games and they have a home final against Wellington Centurions.

TEEN TALENT: Ofa Tauatevalu, pictured in action for the Poverty Bay under-18 team last year, was their most valuable player on Saturday against Ngati Porou East Coast. Picture by Tony Gibson