Horowhenua-Kapiti dominate Bay
Horowhenua-Kapiti rugby has steamrolled Poverty Bay in a display of ominous backline potential for the red, white and blues.
Playing in Gisborne, in its first away game of the season, H-K ran in five tries on the way to a 39-5 victory over the Bay on Saturday.
H-K coach Chris Wilton said the win was a ‘‘fantastic performance’’ with the team going up 27-0 by halftime.
‘‘It’s not often we go away to Poverty Bay in Gisborne and perform like that, so we were stoked.’’
Four of the five tries came from the backs, marking a difference over previous years’ forward-dominated performances.
He pointed to first-five James So’oialo - a former Manu Samoa player - as a key to the backline clicking so early in the season.
So’oialo, who had a solid performance at fullback in the firstup win over North Otago the previous week, was in commanding form on Saturday.
‘‘He’s an ex international player, so he can make decisions in a split second. He sees space, he’s a very accurate passer of the ball, distributor, and of course he’s got a prolific kick.’’
Meanwhile, he said the H-K scrum dominated along with the traditional big ball runners from the forward pack.
The team’s enthusiasm was on display in the H-K defensive effort, Wilton said, with the players ‘‘flying into the tackles’’ right through the game - defending a 34 point lead like it was a one point lead.
‘‘They kept their standards really high. It was a very special performance and an unforgettable win.’’
H-K return home to the Levin Domain for their next match on Saturday at 2pm against the Swamp Foxes of Thames Valley.
‘‘We know that they have a very strong forward pack as well, they dominated the Wanganui scrum last week. They’re similar to us in that they have big ball runners, so I’m picking this week is going to be a big forward clash.’’
The win with bonus point puts H-K equal on the top of the table with Wanganui, on 9 points each.
Buller join them as the third unbeaten team, in second place with eight points.
Wilton said the try scorers on Saturday were halfback Trent Reti, So’oialo, winger Willie Paia’aua (2) and hooker Nathan Kendrick.
Above, Horowhenua-Kapiti’s Willie Paia’aua makes a break against Poverty Bay. Right, First-five James So’oialo weaves some magic in H-K’s 39-5 win.