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Ngati Porou East Coast look to do even better this time round

Ngati Porou East Coast last Saturday came agonisingly close to beating Civil Project Solutions Poverty Bay in Gisborne.

The Hosea Gear-coached Coast came within three points of their first win against the Bay since the 26-8 win at Whakarua Park in Ruatoria for the PJ Sayers Cup on June 4, Queen's Birthday Weekend, 2016.

NPECs last win in a non first-class fixture was the 61-14, nine-try result against Te Waiariki Maori Rugby at Puarenga Park, Whakarewarewa on August 10, last year.

Poverty Bay's 34-31 win here to retain the Anaru “Skip” Paenga Memorial Tropy last Saturday was their 124th victory in 168 clashes, the Coast having won 39, with five draws, since the Bay took Game 1 19-18 at Tokomaru Bay, on June 2, 1923. That was the Coast's first first-class fixture.

The Coast's first win of any type - a first-class fixture - was against Poverty Bay, 14-11, in Gisborne, on July 17, 1926.

The Coast's first win at home was 3-0 at Ruatoria against Taranaki on September 18, 1929: the try-scorer, for 3-0, was Te Aute College old boy, New Zealand Maori representative Te U Raroa, East Coast cap number 65, forward, of the Rangitukia Rangers and Waiapu sub-union.

In reference to the clash at 2.30pm tomorrow, Gear said: “We just need to stay calm, composed so that we make good decisions. We managed to get a lead in the last game, were excited by that, then tried to carry on doing the same things we'd done to that point but no longer needed to.

A good side in Poverty Bay took advantage of that.”

While last Saturday's game was played under Covid Alert Level on C2 restrictions, no such restrictions will be in place: and Coast manager Val Morrison expects a rugby-starved home crowd — “2000-plus at least” — for both the NPEC women's club final, Hicks Bay and Tihirau Victory Club, for the Hamoterangi Cup at 1pm, and the main event at 2.30pm.

Refereeing NPEC and Poverty Bay will be Bay of Plenty's Nick Briant, with East Coast assistant referees Matt Richards and Eruera Kawhia. The women's club final will be controlled by Richards, with assistants David Newton and Melvyn Ashford.

NGATI POROU EAST COAST 1-27: Perrin Manuel, Raniera Whakataka, Hirini Delamere, Frank Taiapa, Hoani Te Moana, Richard Green, Tanetoa Parata, Hone Haerewa (c), Hamuera Baker, Verdon Bartlett, George Sheild, Tutere Waenga, Pamona Samupo, Tawhao Stewart, BJ Sidney (vc). Reserves: Jorian Tangaere, Laman Davies, Trent Proffit, Riki Waitoa, Moana Mato, Te Aho Morice, Fabyan Kahaki, Benny Haerewa, Taleq Simeon, Rapata Haerewa, Netani Seruwaqa, Kyah Hollis.