Cyclones lose halfback in loss to Canterbury
The Manawatu¯ Cyclones’ heavy 40-10 loss to Canterbury in the Farah Palmer Cup was further soured with an injury to experienced halfback Kristina Sue.
The Cyclones had rated themselves a chance to beat Canterbury, but the red and blacks were a level above in their provincial game in Christchurch on Saturday.
Manawatu¯ ’s game plan was affected when Sue, who was playing her 50th game, injured the AC ligament in her shoulder inside 10 minutes and had to go off.
Cyclones coach Fusi Feaunati said they will have to wait and see the diagnosis to know whether she is out for the season or only a few weeks.
Canterbury had lost 41-12 to Auckland last week, so were motivated to perform against
Manawatu¯ , who beat Wellington 35-27 in their first game last week.
‘‘They came out pretty hard with their ball movement,’’ Feaunati said. ‘‘They were obviously hurting a bit from the weekend before and did a lot of work.
‘‘They did some homework on us as well. They knew they had to get up early and shut us down because we had the ability to go off two or three phases.
‘‘They didn’t want it to go any further than that.’’
He said they didn’t play particularly badly, it was just that Canterbury played well and defended strongly.
Canterbury had a strong wind behind them in the first half, but it died down when Manawatu¯ had it at their backs.
‘‘The girls got better in the second half. Unfortunately we were chasing the game.’’
Feaunati said they need to work on their line speed and work at the breakdown before playing Waikato at the Arena on Friday.
With Sue off, first five-eighth Lizzie Goulden shifted to halfback and fullback Selica Winiata played No 10, but in the second spell reserve Corrineke Windle went to halfback, allowing Goulden and Winiata to return to their usual positions. Windle is likely to start at halfback next week.
There were a couple of other injuries to lock Stacey Loye (concussion), hooker Aroha Nuku (ankle) and Jayme Nuku (calf). All are likely to be out next week.
Winiata was her classy self and flanker Nicole Dickins was a workhorse.
In the other games, Otago beat Napier 39-17 in Napier, Counties Manukau beat Auckland 36-12 in Pakuranga, Wellington beat Waikato 11-5 in Hamilton and Bay of Plenty beat North Harbour 34-12 in Rotorua.
Manawatu¯ Cyclones hooker Aroha Nuku makes a break against Canterbury during their Farah Palmer Cup match in Christchurch.