Manurewa grab close victory
Manurewa 10 Pukekohe 5 It was a typically tough arm-wrestle between Pukekohe and Manurewa, with Manurewa getting an important first-up away victory by defeating 2008 semifinalists Pukekohe at Colin Lawrie Fields.
Repeating what was an upset victory late in the second round of the McNamara Cup last year, when they were able to call on the services of Lelia Masaga, Manurewa again had an ace player up their sleeve in the form of Steeler Tim Nanai Williams.
After starring for the New Zealand Sevens team on the world series circuit, Nanai Williams was available to play for the visitors because of a break before an upcoming NZ under-20 camp.
His penalty and conversion helped Manurewa get home.
Coach Lee Lidgard was pleased with the enthusiasm Nanai Williams brought to the side, after the club had been struggling for numbers at early training sessions.
Because of the small turnouts, the team had worked hard on fitness and it paid off in a match Lidgard described as ‘‘a real good 80 minutes of rugby’’.
Pukekohe had limited opportunities but too often panicked and made mistakes when they did get some ball.
Coach Rhys Cullinane described it as ‘‘ a pretty poor performance’’ in ‘‘ a pretty scrappy game’’.
Manurewa 10 ( A Tuala try, T Nanai Williams con, pen) beat Pukekohe 5 (S Tagicakibau try).