YMP hit their straps
They are now truly dangerous.
The Brian Leach-coached YMP scored nine tries in their 66-26 win against Pirates at Barry Park on Saturday.
The Week 4 result was Civil Project Solutions premier rugby's biggest scoreline to date. YMP were 40-7 up at halftime but did not allow themselves to become loose in the process.
“It was pleasing to see our boys really working, because Pirates never gave up and that speaks volumes about them,” said YMP head coach Leach, whose crew have won three out of three since Tiny White Opening Day.
“Our player of the day was lock Nehe Papuni — in his first full 80-minute game — while our left wing Enty Junior Masun won the McDonald's Gisborne Player of the Match award and our centre Jayden Milner got a hat-trick of tries.”
The YMP pack laid a good platform for their backs at the scrum, and with that quality ball those backs quickly put the Buccaneers under pressure.
Halfback Brian Whaitiri-White's combination with first five-eighth Austin Brown, and the midfield pairing of second-five Louis Devery and Milner outside him, worked well.
Of YMP's forwards, tighthead prop Dylan Williams played his fourth full game and Leach also spoke highly of loosehead prop Axel Campbell and Papuni's second-row partner Mike Kemp, who were both heavily involved in all parts of play.
YMP captain and hooker Shayde Skudder knew, going into this weekend, that Pirates would be aggressive and competitive.
“It was a good physical game, as expected,” he said.
“I'm most happy about the fact that we didn't lose our structure and that — as the game opened up — we maintained discipline. We wanted to get our game plan going without losing shape.”
In such situations, the supposed underdogs' main ploy is normally to disrupt, distract and confuse the opposition. That takes rugby know-how, determination and character.
Pirates head coach Willie Waitoa said his players showed character in the second half and there were good individual performances.
“Openside flanker Eru Wharerau was tremendous — an inspiration, really — and our captain and No.8 Willie Bolingford was, as he normally is, outstanding and loosehead prop Bernard Nepe worked hard all day.
“Pirates Senior 1 captain and prems reserve lock Petelo Tuitakau made his debut for our prems yesterday — he's 19 — but one thing we take out of this game is that we need to find our feet and get out of the blocks quickly.”
East Coast Farm Vets YMP were awarded a penalty try (now worth seven points) by referee Royce Maynard two minutes into the game.
Brown converted tries to Milner (4th minute), YMP captain and hooker Shayde Skudder (12th min) and former High School Old Boys and Poverty Bay fullback Andrew Tauatevalu (19th minute) on his YMP debut.
The Tauatevalu try, YMP's fourth, secured them a bonus point. Papuni's try in the 28th minute, for 33-0, was unconverted. At the 30-minute mark, Devery made a line-break in his own half and Milner was the beneficiary, his second try being converted by Brown as YMP hit 40.
Kevin Hollis Glass Pirates' Wharerau scored a memorable try on halftime. At a lineout on the left touch, 10m into YMP territory, Wharerau won the ball at No.2 and the Pirates pack drove him 30m into YMP's 22. Over five phases of play involving forwards and backs, to and from rucks, they made it to the goal-line, a metre to the right of the posts. Wharerau went to the right of the ruck and scored. Halfback Jacob Leaf converted.
Pirates made a strong start to the second half, reserve hooker Wyntah Riki scoring the Buccaneers' second try — converted by Leaf — in the 42nd minute to close it to 40-14.
YMP No.8 Jess Kapene scored in the 47th minute, with a conversion by Tauatevalu, for 47-14. Ten minutes later, Masun's try advanced the score to 52-14.
Pirates' reserve blindside flanker Pat Kaliopasi got the Buccaneers' third try. it was not converted and the score was 52-19.
YMP fetcher Niko Lauti scored in the 28th minute, his try converted by Tauatevalu for 59-19.
In the 71st minute, skilful YMP reserve first-five Peia Fililava converted Milner's hat-trick try for 66-19 and on fulltime, Bolingford scored Pirates' fourth, bonus-point try. From a scrum set 10m off the left touch, 20m from the YMP goal-line, the Buccaneers laboured over seven phases to get within five metres of their prize.
Bolingford went through two would-be tacklers to score seven metres to the right of the posts. Leaf converted for a final score of 66-26 to YMP.
Bolingford was perfectly frank: “Once we got our hands on the ball, we made good ground through our forwards, but YMP converted their possession and field position into points, and they had points on us by the time we started to claw it back.
“They were definitely the better team on the day.”
They got back on the horse.
A week after their 17-point loss at home to premier rugby leaders Waikohu, Ngatapa turned in an excellent performance with a 36-15 win against OBM to claim the McFarlane Cup.
Larsawn Ngatapa head coach Steve Hickey doesn't gush, but he was pleased.
“We scrummaged well, lock Jacob Samuels was good in the middle of the lineout and, though we had a young backline, Mike Livingston did the job in his first game at first-five, as did Nashwen Mouton at centre and Alex Bristow on the left wing,” Hickey said.
“Our flankers Alex Chrisp and Lynden Manuel, and halfback Willie Short all had to make try-saving tackles because OBM were dangerous from broken play. OBM played with a lot of spirit.”
Enterprise Cars OBM head coach Trevor Crosby said his team's set-piece play needed work.
“Ngatapa certainly had the upper hand at scrum-time in the first half,” he said.
“We brought on Tom Solomon at No.8 after halftime, and experienced props Rama Te Are (tighthead-cum-loosehead) and Dayne Williams (loosehead prop-cum-hooker) five minutes after the restart to stabilise the scrum, and that helped.
“Tighthead prop-cum-hooker Blake Beard, vice-captain Rikki Terekia, and flankers Evan Bryant and Felix Burns were solid up front. Rikki again played in three different forward positions — hooker, No.8 and blindside flanker. Halfback De-Villa Pirihi-Coutts, captain and left wing Scott McKinley, centre Michael Fox and fullback Braedyn Grant also had their moments.
“But we need to be more patient in possession and eliminate the 50-50 pass.”
McKinley also found the forced pass or afterthought pass frustrating: “We looked good with the ball in hand, then gave it away cheaply. We didn't play badly but I believe we still have much more to give.”
Short opened the scoring with a try for Ngatapa in the ninth minute. Second-five Peter Livingston converted to make it 7-0.
Referee Les Thomas awarded Enterprise Cars OBM a penalty try 16 minutes into the first half but Mouton got Ngatapa back on track with a try which, with Peter Livingston's conversion, made the score 14-7 to Ngatapa.
In the 25th minute, OBM's Fox kicked a penalty goal to reduce the deficit to four points, only for Ngatapa right wing Cameron Rowden to dot down six minutes later. His try was unconverted, but Ngatapa had gone out to a 19-10 lead.
That was the score at the break — the closest OBM have been to their opposition at halftime since the Tiny White Opening Day clash with HSOB, who led 8-5 at the split on June 20.
It took Ngatapa eight minutes to reopen their account. Ihaia Kerr, Ngatapa's very capable hooker, scored for 24-10. Kerr's try was unconverted.
In the 56th minute, Solomon was shown a yellow card. Solomon, a former Lee Brothers Shield-winning OBM and Poverty Bay captain, has never lost his passion for the game.
“I've always loved rugby and find myself missing the game from time to time,” he said.
“When I'm on the field I feel the wairua (spirit) of yesteryear . . . energy and adrenalin rushing through my veins. It's hard to describe, but the camaraderie is also a biggie for me.”
Ngatapa fullback Matt Raleigh scored the next try, in the 63rd minute; with Livingston's conversion, the score was 31-10 to Ngatapa.
The penultimate tryscorer was fearless 19-year-old Braedyn Grant, for OBM. Grant scored in the 69th minute to make it 31-15.
Ngatapa had the last say through reserve left wing Henry Seymour, who, on his 29th birthday, scored on fulltime. Neither of the last two tries was converted, so the final score was 36-15.
Ngatapa captain and loosehead prop Campbell Chrisp's stated intent was to keep things simple.
“This week we went back to basics as a unit, and got our timing and calls right at both scrum and lineout. Those things, our defence . . . I was stoked with our whole match-effort, really.”