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Great result for hard-working YMP

RUGBY

YMP’s 28-12 bonus-point win against defending champions OBM at Barry Park on Saturday was a sensational result for a group who have trained very hard to forge team spirit and self-belief.

This side — led, as in 2019, by hooker Shayde Skudder — played hard, competitive rugby against the team who beat them 65-5 in last year’s grand final.

Every season represents a new start with the possibility of renewal and success, and the result in Week 2 represents a massive turnaround in YMP’s rugby health.

This reversal is not down to one man’s efforts alone, but new head coach Brian Leach can be proud of what YMP have done and continue to do, with his hand on the tiller.

“The boys are still settling as a team and it was a messy game, but we’re proud of getting a win,” said Leach, who with assistant coach Colin Skudder now have an increasingly fit, confident YMP looking sharp.

“We’ll keep working hard to maintain concentration — that’s a work in progress for us.”

On Thursday, with weather a factor, YMP spent 40 minutes doing a fitness circuit indoors — which speaks to their work ethic.

OBM have lost two games to start the season and it is at times like these that the experience and patience of a rugby brain like Trevor Crosby’s is invaluable.

“We started well, played a positive brand but YMP capitalised on the handling errors we made; just 50-50 stuff,” he said.

“They put pressure on us around the ruck and they’re always dangerous in broken play. We never quite got into rhythm and credit to YMP, they didn’t allow us to.”

OBM’s second-year captain, lock Jacob Cook, like Crosby, keeps events in perspective.

“Our line-out was much better this week and we broke through them in the wide channels a few times — we just need a bit more time together at training, and in games.

“What I’d like us to focus on this week is, while we get our patterns and shapes together, to be more patient over phases.”

OBM opened the scoring with a try to loosehead prop Joe Mason in the 10th minute; there was no conversion, the score was 5-0.

YMP responded with a try to left-wing Jeremy Ferris 25 minutes in — which was converted by first-five Austin Brown — for 7-5 to YMP.

The wizardry of Austin extended to scoring, then converting, on the stroke of half-time for 14-5 in favour of YMP.

Nine minutes after the resumption, OBM were awarded a penalty try by referee Damien Macpherson: Cook’s men were within striking distance at OBM 12 YMP 14. Sixty-two minutes in, YMP reserve loosehead prop Nehe Papuni scored — with Brown’s conversion, the score was 21-12.

In the 72nd minute, YMP sealed their first win of the season with a try to centre Te Peehi Fairlie which originated in their own 22. Austin converted and his flawless goal-kicking display was a major factor in YMP’s victory.

Two YMP players received yellow cards: blindside flanker Shyann Wyllie and second-five Peia Fililava.

Their skipper Shayde Skudder, YMP’s Player of the Day, was nonetheless rapt with the result of what was a scrappy, no-punches-pulled contest.

“We played with attitude today.

“We were hungry in defence.”

■ The points table: Waikohu (10), Ngatapa (9), YMP (5), HSOB (4), OBM (1), Pirates (0).

TURNAROUND: In a match-up of last year’s finalists it was YMP who came out on top in Week 2 this year with a 28-12 win — a far cry from last year’s 65-5 demolition by OBM in the final. It was a first win for YMP and second loss on the trot for OBM. Herald file picture