Sun, 12 Mar 2017
The 2017 season opened yesterday in damp conditions after a record amount of rainfall in the 24 hours leading in to kick-off.
Pukekohe Mitre 10 Mega opened the season by defending the Counties Power Cup 29-26 over Karaka at Colin Lawrie Fields. Former Steelers loose forward Waka Setitaia began his time in charge of Pukekohe with an impressive first up performance.
“I don’t think it was a big win but I will definitely take it,” Pukekohe coach Waka Setitaia said afterwards.
It was a good contest for the first round. It was a good game to watch. There were some heart-attack moments at times.
“We took our opportunities and they took theirs at key moments.
“We handled our set pieces very well. We won the majority of our lineouts and we scrummed well and I was very happy with what the boys put up.
Setitaia, who spent time with both clubs during his playing days, will face another old club in Patumahoe in week two for the Counties Power Cup.
Patumahoe took a first up win against Papakura at Patumahoe Domain but the 27-8 score line flattered the home side.
Papakura made a bright start – scoring inside the first five minutes of the encounter. But Patumahoe gradually began to take control of the match and eased to victory.
The visitors were reduced to 13 men for a period after a red card and a yellow for foul play. While they don’t get anything to show for their efforts on the ladder they proved they won’t be easy beats this year.
It was far from a vintage performance from the young Patumahoe side with handling errors plaguing the match throughout.
Patumahoe coach Jeff Maka admits his side was far from their best but was pleased to bank some competition points in their first hit-out.
“It was good. I’m happy. It was a bit messy but I will take the win,” he said.
“We didn’t adjust to the conditions but I am happy with the way we played.
“It was good to see the younger players coming through – I am super proud to see some of those young guys playing their first game for Patty.”
Young prop Richard Taupaki drew special praise from his coach.
“For a 20-year-old playing prems rugby at prop was very good,” Maka added.
Defending champions Bombay Gough Cat racked up the biggest score of the opening round in completely dismantling Onewhero Counties Bulk Haulage 41-0 at Bombay.
Having lost a few key players from last season and without the services of some rep players Bombay showed they will be one of the teams to beat yet again in 2017.
Coach Jeff Marr was pleased with his side’s first competition match of the year.
“We had to work pretty hard. We had a dominant forward pack and we worked hard to get our points to be honest. “Onewhero defended really well despite what the score line suggests. It took us about 20 minutes to get first points.
“We had dominance up front but couldn’t capitalize on it until late in the game when the flood gates opened a little.
“We took the breeze in the first half, which was probably not a bad move actually because it was quite strong at the start but eased off in the second half.”
Marr was very happy to get their title defense off to a promising start.
“We are delighted – Onewhero always start very well so we wanted to be up for this one.
“To keep the score to zero was big for us as well.
“We were pretty rusty first up and there are still a lot of work-ons leading into next week.”
Last year’s losing finalists Ardmore Marist South Auckland Motors won the northern derby over Manurewa Kidd Contracting 33-19 at Bruce Pulman Park.
Coach Saua Leaupepetele was extremely pleased with the determination his side showed having spent much of the game without the ball.
“We didn’t have the territory or the possession - it was just a big defensive effort from the boys,” he said.
“They had the wind behind their backs in the second half. We couldn’t get out of our own red zone and penalties were mounting against us and they just kept hammering away at us.
“I thought out defense did a really good job to keep the score line to where it was considering the minutes they had the ball in that area.
“The times we did have the ball we came away with points, which was good.
“We have still got a lot to work on. Some of the things we touched on in the pre-season seems to be going in the right direction.”
Leaupepetele was impressed with what he saw from Manurewa and he expects them to be a genuine force this season. “There were a few key players missing as I understand it. They look a lot more structured this season. With a lot of new players coming to that club it is only a matter of time before they gel.
“Maybe we caught them at the right time.”
Coming off a disappointing 2016 season Waiuku Brian James Contracting took a well-fought 26-14 win over Te Kauwhata EnviroWaste at Te Kauwhata Domain.
They scored four tries in the process to grab a vital bonus point in the win.
McNamara Cup (Premier 1)
Ardmore Marist South Auckland Motors 33
(Vini Iosua, Kirisome Laulala, Travino Amerika, Timothy Taefu tries; Solomona Paraki cons; Solomona Paraki 2 pens)
Manurewa Kidd Contracting 19
(James Taufa, Joshua Westerlund, Petelo Ikenasio tries; Bradford Lemalufaitoaga 2 cons)
Patumahoe Hotel 27
(Alex Eruera, James Tupou, Tamati Fromm tries; Jonny Wilkinson 2, Harley Jenkins cons; Jonny Wilkinson pens)
Papakura Ray White 8
(Shirley Halasima tries; Dylan Watters pens)
Pukekohe Mitre 10 Mega (Counties Power Cup Holders) 29
(Gafatasi Su’a, Peni Buakula, Matthew Vava, Christie Gregor tries; Jamie King 3 cons; Jamie King pens)
(Desma Liaina, Raymond Fuilala, Seluini tries; Vuga Tagicakibau cons; Desma Liaina 3 pens)
Bombay Gough Cat 41
(Penalty Try, Aaron Smith, Jordan Goldsmith, Mitchell Thackham, Sam Vaka, Haamiora Clarke tries; Jordyn Walters 4 cons; Jordyn Walters pens)
Onewhero Counties Bulk Haulage 0
Te Kauwhata EnviroWaste 14
(Taniela Tuivai tries; Vilitati Sabani 3 pens)
Waiuku Brian James Contracting 26
(Dominic Olson, Zack Palamo, John Streamer, Louis Mercer tries; Jack Hardie 2 pens)
Bob Chandler Memorial (Premier 2)
Ardmore Marist 13 Manurewa 3; Patumahoe 25 Papakura 7; Pukekohe 5 Karaka 27; Bombay Pokeno Bacon 36 Onewhero 32; Te Kauwhata 21 Waiuku 20.
Sid Marshall Shield (Premier 3) – KO 1 April
Massey Cup (U21) – KO 1 April
Under 20 - KO 1 April
Under 85kg – KO 1 April
Women’s – KO 1 April