Tawa Rugby looking stronger
Tawa Rugby Premiers are bouncing back strong following injuries and early season losses to big teams.
After a slow start losing their first few games to top teams, and a heavy injury toll resulting in 13 debutants having to step up to the premiership level in only eight weeks, Tawa won the next five games putting them in contention to defend the Jubilee Cup.
But that good run came to an end at Lyndhurst Park on Saturday with a 26-10 loss to Hutt Old Boys Marist. Tawa stumbled from seventh to eighth place on the Swindale Shield table with 25 points.
Tawa Rugby Premiers coach Vice Saletele said the team was focussed on making it into the top four to cement their defence of the Jubilee Cup.
‘‘In just eight weeks, we’ve had to bring in 13 new players who had never played premier rugby before.
‘‘It’s been a whole lot of learning for us, and confidence building. It’s tough just to throw them in the firing line, but they’ve improved and are growing in confidence.’’
A tough start to the season saw a series of long-term injuries bring down senior players.
The team also lost their first few games, but it was to solid teams that they generally played in semi-finals such as Old Boys University and Ories.
‘‘Coming off that was a slow start. We had felt a bit disappointed ... but we weren’t hitting the panic button.
‘‘The players are getting stronger and stronger.’’
Tawa showed they had the grit to overcome a tough start last season when they won the Jubilee Cup.
Since the finals format was introduced in 1993 no side had lost their first two Jubilee Cup rugby matches and gone on to make the semifinals. Tawa took it one step further. After dropping their first three in the Jubilee Cup and languishing at the bottom of the ladder, they surged back with a six-game winning streak to defy the odds and snatch the title from a rampant Marist St Pats side with a nail-biting 24-20 win at Jerry Collins Stadium in Porirua last August.
NORTHS SLIP TO THIRD
Top contenders Northern United Rugby Football Club has slipped to third place in the premier division of Wellington Club Rugby after a 30-7 loss to Old Boys-University at Nairnville Park on May 6.
Norths have hovered around the top of the Swindale Shield competition, now sitting on 36 points while top-of-the-table Ories has 40.
Tamati Hauraki-Tyrell scores a try for Tawa against Johnsonville earlier this year.