Late run not enough for win

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

Frank Rees re­turned to the ground where he over­saw so many North­ern United vic­to­ries on Satur­day and came away with yet an­other win.

Only prob­lem was, he did it for his new out­fit, Pe­tone. It was Norths’ fourth loss in seven games and their iron grip on Welling­ton rugby’s Swin­dale Shield is all but over – much more press­ing is their need to en­sure they play in the Ju­bilee Cup in the next round.

The 27- 20 loss to Pe­tone at Porirua Park sees them level with that team on 16 points, pre­car­i­ously placed in sev­enth place. The top eight play Ju­bilee.

It was Old Timers’ Day for Norths and the blue-and-white faith­ful saw a spir­ited per­for­mance, marred by a ref­eree keen to blow the pea out of his whis­tle and some ill-dis­ci­pline from the home side.

The match was lost in the first half, with Pe­tone up 20-3 by the end of the first 40. They played 15-man rugby with a breeze at the backs, while Norths barely had a first half at­tack.

The vis­i­tors scored in the open­ing minute and kept their foot down the rest of the half, with their or­gan­ised for­wards and ex­cel­lent backs run­ning Norths ragged. They scored three tries but could have had more.

The sec­ond half was a dif­fer­ent story, led by open­side Dean Bruns­don, and a good-sized crowd will­ing Norths on. An early penalty and then a try made it 20-13 but their chances took a tum­ble when cen­tre Nene Va’alepu was sin­binned for a high tackle.

With a gap­ing hole in their back­line, Pe­tone took full ad­van­tage and scored out wide to make it 27-13 with 20 min­utes left.

Just like the Norths of old – rem­i­nis­cent of last week rip­ping Hutt Old Boys Marist apart – they re­sponded with a length-of-the-field try once Va’alepu had re-en­tered the fray. But he made his bad day worse by be­ing red carded for a silly in­frac­tion.

Norths ral­lied, bat­ter­ing the Pe­tone line in the dy­ing min­utes, but they could not cross it.

Tawa, mean­while, had a morale­boost­ing 27-20 win over Poneke. They made life hard for them­selves, miss­ing 19 points with the boot, but the bonus-point vic­tory has them in 11th on 10 points, giv­ing them a sniff of Ju­bilee Cup ac­tion with four rounds left.

Poneke had taken a 10-0 lead early at Lyn­d­hurst Park but Tawa drew level with two tries be­fore the break and then surged ahead in the sec­ond half.

The Norths women’s side had the first round Fleurs Tro­phy locked away be­fore their game against Ori­en­tal-ron­go­tai on Satur­day but played like they needed a big win, com­ing away vic­tors 73-7.

Got ya: Hulk­ing re­place­ment Norths winger Kose Tuimavave scrags a Pe­tone at­tacker dur­ing Satur­day’s match at Porirua Park.

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