Tough lessons for Pare Plim

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

Pare­mata Plim­mer­ton’s first sea­son of pre­mier rugby fin­ished as it started – with a heavy loss – but coach Dave Birnie says the dif­fer­ence be­tween round 1 and round 11 was there for all to see.

‘‘ A loss hurts. It al­ways does,’’ he said of the 62- 6 score­line against John­sonville at Hel­ston Park on Satur­day. ‘‘ But our guys have been ex­posed to pre­mier rugby and have im­proved out of sight. They’re think­ing like rugby play­ers and this team is not out of place at pre­mier level.

‘‘ Talk­ing to guys at Wainuiomata and Tawa, years ago they started like we have, and look at them now.’’

The loss to John­sonville meant Pare­mata Plim­mer­ton fin­ished bot­tom of the Swin­dale Shield stand­ings, with one point from 11 matches.

They scored 126 points and con­ceded 599, but Birnie said there were bright mo­ments, es­pe­cially for long pe­ri­ods against Marist St Pat’s and Wainuiomata, when his charges footed it with the big boys.

He said the sup­port from the com­mu­nity had been amaz­ing.

‘‘ You could not wish for bet­ter sup­port­ers.

‘‘ They’ve been happy we have used the same play­ers from last year and pro­moted guys from the re­serves.

‘‘ We have an in­cred­i­bly strong ju­nior club. How good has it been for them to see this level of rugby at Ngati­toa Domain? We were never go­ing to get bet­ter un­less we took that step up, and we’re bet­ter for it.’’

Kewa and Tane McMil­lanParata, Blake Neve and Ryan McLean had been the stal­warts, Birnie said, and

colts and had helped bring in the new blood.

His team would push hard in the Hard­ham Cup, he said, now know­ing what it took.

Tawa, mean­while, dropped from sec­ond to fourth in the Swin­dale Shield stand­ings af­ter a 45- 14 thrash­ing by Pe­tone. Norths edged Avalon 33-31 at Fraser Park, but will join Pare­mata Plim­mer­ton in the Hard­ham Cup af­ter fin­ish­ing 11th.

Tawa’s sec­ond team were pre­sented with the pre­mier re­serve Harper Lock Shield af­ter beat­ing Pe­tone 25-12, and they will join Pe­tone’s sec­ond team in the Hard­ham Cup.

Tawa’s James So’oialo topped the Swin­dale Shield points scor­ing with 148 points.

North­ern United’s women’s side beat Avalon 39-0 to stay top of the heap, and Tawa thrashed John­sonville 104-5.

Photo: DANIEL WHIT­FIELD

Pare­mata Plim­mer­ton half­back Kaiti­aki Toi pre­pares to spin the ball against John­sonville.

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