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Wairarapa Bush claims Meads Cup

sportal.co.nz     22 Oct 2006

The under-dog visitors took a 16 point lead into the break and was never caught as it put Wanganui under pressure from the start and forced it into uncharacteristic mistakes with an enthusiastic performance across the park.

Wanganui stormed back into contention with two late converted tries but the end score flattered the home side as Wairarapa Bush dominated the game for 60 minutes.

Wairarapa Bush took advantage of a prodigious tail wind and started strongly making great use of its early advantage in territory and possession as its backs found huge gains through the Wanganui defence, piling on 13 points in the first 10 minutes.

An early penalty to first five-eighths Patrick Rimene got things started before the weight of possession told significantly and winger Francis Seumanatafa went over in the corner.

Rimene added the extras and followed this up with his second penalty soon after.

The game then reverted to true finals football as a stalemate began to emerge before Rimene landed his third penalty on the half hour mark to put Wairarapa Bush up by 16 at the break.

Wanganui found its combinations and patience lacking as it failed to hold onto possession or take advantage of the precious few chances in an error-ridden first half.

The second-half continued in much the same manner as an enthusiastic Wairarapa Bush defence forced the home side to look for the 50/50 pass that more often than not handed possession over.

But with 20 minutes left Wanganui captain Denning Tyrell sparked the home side into action with a great individual try. The halfback showed great strength to push through a couple of tackles to score beside the posts. Second five-eighths Steelie Koro converted to bring the score to 16-7.

Wanganui began to lift its game and proceeded with an all out assault on the Wairarapa Bush try line. With ten minutes to go it got its reward with winger Asalei Tikoirotuma scoring in the corner. Koro reeled off a stunning conversion from the side line to reduce the deficit to two.

By now the tide had well and truly turned and with time up on the clock the home side had one last chance to steal the victory but an unforced lineout error summed up its day and Wairarapa Bush celebrated as the Meads Cup champions as the final whistle sounded.

Wairarapa Bush 16 (Francis Seumanatafa 1 try, Patrick Rimene con, Rimene 3 pen) Wanganui 14 (Denning Tyrell, Asaeli Tikoirotuma 1 try, Steelie Koro 2 con, pen)
HT: 16-0 Wairarapa Bush