Su­per 15 starts su­perbly

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport/opinion - By STEVEN SA­MUELS Mata­mata Col­lege Gateway stu­dent

WOW! What an ex­cit­ing start to the Su­per 15 competition. The first three rounds have been filled with high-paced run­ning rugby with lots of tries.

How­ever there has been no short­age of big hits and great for­ward play show­ing that rugby is still a game for all shapes and sizes.

A clas­sic ex­am­ple was the way pint size half­back Jimmy Cowan charged straight into mon­ster Spring­bok lock Vic­tor Mat­field and brought him crash­ing to the ground.

My beloved Chiefs have had a slow start but gained their first competition points with a con­vinc­ing 38-10 four-try bonus point win over the new­est fran­chise Mel­bourne Rebels.

They have proved a much stronger op­po­nent than their crit­ics would ex­pect hav­ing top­pled the Brumbies and nar­rowly los­ing to the Sharks.

In­jury prob­lems for the Chiefs are lim­ited to their in­spi­ra­tional cap­tain Mils Mu­li­aina who has chipped bones in his ver­te­brae that will keep him out for four to six weeks.

How­ever they have a more than ca­pa­ble re­place­ment in the form of pocket rocket Tim NanaiWil­liams.

The re­turn of Richard Kahui will add sta­bil­ity and punch to the mid­field backs. This should pro­vide the po­tent out­side com­bi­na­tions more space and op­por­tu­nity to work their magic.

Watch­ing the Cru­saders play­ing in Nel­son it was great to see a packed sta­dium with a sea of red and black sup­port­ers all cheer­ing and wav­ing flags.

Their team de­liv­ered with that 52-10 drub­bing over the Brumbies.

I hope the Cantabri­ans main­tain their en­thu­si­as­tic attitude, de­spite the ma­jor con­cerns at home.

The Cru­saders gave a com­plete team ef­fort with all play­ers, one to 22, con­tribut­ing.

Out­stand­ing was Rob­bie Fruean who set up his out­sides well, made line breaks by bounc­ing through tack­les and the op­po­si­tion de­fence were pow­er­less to stop him.

If you try to go high he bumps you off, and if you try to go low he tram­ples over you, in Lomu-es­que style.

Andy El­lis passed very well and Daniel Carter true to form had the Mi­das touch, con­trol­ling the game with per­fec­tion as we’ve come to ex­pect. His goal kick­ing was deadly ac­cu­rate, land­ing eight from eight.

Young­sters Is­rael Dagg and Sean Maitland both crossed the whitewash, the lat­ter bag­ging four tries.

Now to the other code and the Na­tional Rugby League.

The War­riors’ sea­son opener against Par­ra­matta Eels was a tightly con­tested game be­tween two phys­i­cal for­ward packs and some hard run­ning backs on both sides.

There seemed to be more em­pha­sis on de­fence and a high penalty count pre­vented the freeflow­ing game we ex­pected.

The War­riors had a full strength squad go­ing into the game with a very set­tled look to the team.

Sea­soned cam­paign­ers Lance Ho­haia, Manu Vatu­vai, Michael Luck and Cap­tain Si­mon Man­ner­ing are the nu­cleus with strong sup­port from young guns such as Joel Moon and Glen Fisi­ahi.

Un­for­tu­nately the play­ers did not ex­e­cute the game-plan well, with too many han­dling er­rors, which af­fected con­ti­nu­ity and gifted pos­ses­sion back to the Eels.

It came as no sur­prise that the Eels were first to score through their half­back, then ten min­utes later Jared Hayne ben­e­fited from a spilled bomb in the War­riors own in-goal area. Af­ter only 30 min­utes the War­riors had made a stag­ger­ing 188 tack­les. Per­haps this ex­treme ef­fort con­trib­uted to their tired­ness near the end of the game. For­tu­nately the War­riors did re­group and Jerome Ropati scored wide out to give them some hope. In the end though, they con­trib­uted to their own demise. Hav­ing to make 300 tack­les in a game sug­gests far too high a turnover rate.

They must re­duce the er­rors. I have ev­ery faith that coach Ivan Cleary will pin­point these ar­eas of concern, and work on them.

The War­riors will bounce back from this early set-back.

PS: A lit­tle mes­sage for the Hin­uera play­ers and those in­volved with their club, af­ter a great pre-sea­son warm-up in the Gold Coast my good sources tell me they are ready to kick-start the sea­son.

See you in a cou­ple of weeks.

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