Pre-sea­son rugby game en­ter­tains

Bush Telegraph - - News - By DAVE MUR­DOCH

In the fi­nal pre-sea­son game Aotea play­ing in Hawke’s Bay and Puke­toi play­ing in Wairarapa-Bush met and en­ter­tained the Dan­nevirke Rugby Park crowd in a 61-point thriller.

Both teams played an en­ter­pris­ing game of rugby, with Puke­toi hav­ing high hopes of knock­ing off Aotea to es­tab­lish cred­i­bil­ity and Aotea de­ter­mined not to have the hor­ror start of pre­vi­ous sea­sons.

Both hopes were re­alised, even though Puke­toi lost 34-27, and the re­sult was in doubt un­til the fi­nal whis­tle.

Puke­toi got off to a great start scor­ing from a maul when Sam Mc­Cor­mack scored un­der the posts. A Matt Lowe break and chip into the cor­ner had Ryan Ton­gia scor­ing for Aotea to even the score.

Both for­ward packs sup­plied good ball to their backs but Aotea had the edge with the Petera boys Waka and Tama weav­ing their magic. A Waka Petera try was fol­lowed by one from Jack Stephen­son putting Aotea 17-10 up.

Aotea scored twice more be­fore the half but Puke­toi replied with a try and a penalty for a close 29-20 af­ter 40 min­utes.

The sec­ond half be­gan with a 20-minute score­less arm wres­tle, both teams with op­por­tu­ni­ties to score but a lack of sup­port play cost­ing points.

The drought was bro­ken when Waka Petera scored from a mid-field break but a high tackle had Aotea down to 14 play­ers with seven min­utes to play.

Puke­toi took ad­van­tage scor­ing a try as a wall of for­wards crashed over the line for 34-27 but it failed to get the equaliser in the fi­nal min­utes.

Both coaches Jerome Pitt and Peka Hauiti should be en­cour­aged by their teams’ per­for­mances so early in the sea­son.

The big­gest crowd in many a game — over 100 cars — wit­nessed two qual­ity games at Rugby Park on Satur­day with Dan­nevirke Sports Club also play­ing well in the first game.

OL­LIE Wright soars in the li­ne­out for Puke­toi.

BAI­LEY John­son takes the ball up for Aotea.

LEROY Pitt head­ing to the line to score for Puke­toi.

TAMA Petera trou­bled the Puke­toi mid­field all match.

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