Turbos back on track
The Manawatu¯ Turbos’ 23-10 win over Waikato may be the adrenaline shot their season needed.
After poor performances against Otago and Bay of Plenty in their past two matches, the Turbos played some of their best rugby in the second half against Waikato in Hamilton on Saturday, coming from 10-3 down to win.
The win, only Manawatu¯ ’s seventh over Waikato, moved them into fourth in the Championship with two wins and three losses.
Manawatu¯ coach Jeremy Cotter said the win gets them back on track.
‘‘We’re right back in the picture eh,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s easy to get real panicky.
‘‘We’ve known we’ve come up against some strong teams and we’re not that far away. It’s been a bit of a lack of execution but to come away with the win was good to keep the belief.’’
In the wet and windy conditions in the first half, Manawatu¯ struggled to build any phases despite a fair chunk of possession and were down 5-3 at halftime. Cotter said they were a bit nervous too and making mistakes.
Waikato scored not long after halftime, but then it was all Manawatu¯ .
Former Turbos midfielder Tevita Taufui had a hand in both of Waikato’s tries, with an offload for the first and a line break for the second.
The Turbos forwards got stuck in after halftime and dominated Waikato and their bulldozing scrum would have warmed the cockles of the heart of any tight forward, especially when replacement No 8 Harrison Brewer scored a pushover try to make it 17-10.
Prop Fraser Armstrong was the basis of their powerful scrum as he shunted the Waikato pack backwards and he got around the field on defence too.
Despite a frustrating first half, Cotter was e positive in the sheds at halftime. Once they hung onto the ball they were better.
‘‘That was pleasing. We created opportunities and it was just a matter of hanging on to it.
‘‘We never wanted to go ino our shell and that’s what we said at halftime. The boys up front said we can really make some in roads.
‘‘That’s not the road we wanted to go down. We wanted to move the ball and challenge down the blind side.’’
This week the Turbos got real impact from their bench, particularly Brewer, wing Ambrose Curtis and halfback Jamie Booth.
Booth scored Manawatu¯ ’s first try when he threw a dummy and raced through a gap, and nearly scored another when he burrowed
over near the line, but was just short.
‘‘The forwards rolled up their sleeves, demoed their scrums and just mentally got on top of them,’’ Booth said. ‘‘We just did what we’d been talking about.’’
Booth said the forwards were dominating, making his job easy.
He also had a box seat for Brewer’s crucial pushover try. ‘‘Mentally that breaks teams.’’ Booth said they really needed the win and it gives them confidence for their next game on Friday, what will be a tough match against Northland.
Lock Tom Parsons would have had to shout the beers on Saturday after he bombed a certain try in the second half.
Parsons was on the end of the chain after an Ambrose Curtis chip kick 60m out and Parsons would have scored an amazing try, but he lost the ball as he was about to launch into his dive 5m out.
From the ensuing Waikato scrum Booth drove Waikato No 8 Jordan Manihere back over the tryline, which kept the pressure on Waikato.
Regular first five-eighth Otere Black was out sick, but Jade Te Rure had a good game filling in, while lock Jackson Hemopo had another quality game and flanker Antonio Kiri Kiri was busy.
Englishman Tom Crozier had a cameo off the bench, having joined the team this week on loan.
Zac Guildford was a threat on attack for Waikato but went off in the second half with a hamstring injury.
Manawatu¯ locks Jackson Hemopo, centre, and Tom Parsons toiling away in the engine room against the Waikato pack in Hamilton on Saturday.