Friday’s clash grass roots rugby at its best
over the line for the first of their six tries.
By half-time they had extended their lead to 29-12 and looked to have the game sewn up. However, the Chiefs came out firing in the second half and with more possession and urgency in attack, closed the gap to 29-19 thanks to a fine try by hooker Daniel Perrin.
But hope was short-lived because the Blues lifted to another gear, returning to their harddriving, long-passing game which again brought them success.
Final score was Blues 42 – Chiefs 26. This was a high-scoring and entertaining game given the conditions.
In the Chiefs’ squad were a number of proven provincial players and some who have already experienced Super 15 rugby.
Kerr-Barlow, Renata and Jackson Willison played important roles with the Waikato team which went to the final last year. These and others in the squad like Perrin, have shown that they can and probably will step up to regular Super 15 spots in the near future. In speaking with them afterwards, they expressed a keen desire for this to happen.
I would like to acknowledge the way Counties Manukau have done so much to spot and develop talent in their region over the past few years. They were well represented in this Chiefs Development Squad. Surely the New Zealand Rugby Union should look at their success and recognise the contribution that the smaller unions make to New Zealand rugby. They need regular competition at top level for this to continue. I believe that the changes made to NPC this year were a mistake.
From the Blues Development team we saw a flash-back to the past with players like Winston Stanley, nephew of Smokin’Joe, Ben Botica, son of Frano, and William Whetton, related to The Twins. This team also had players with provincial and Super 15 experience, some as recently as last week. Prop Pauliasi Manu spoke to me after the game and expressed the feeling that he would love to see more games at this level for developing players.
UMS president Warwick Wilcock, Chiefs’ captain Trent Renata and Blues captain Aaron Bancroft all mentioned how great it was to have emerging top-level players come into a rural club with excellent facilities and mix-it with the locals.
This is real ‘grass roots rugby’ at is best. A good yarding of forward conditioned cattle sold to a strong demand at Elders Monday Matamata sale.
Prime cattle: Medium steers made bet $ 1040-$ 1322, prime heifers made bet $ 850-$ 900. Boner cows: Heavy boners made bet $900-$1134, medium boners made bet $700-$850 and lighter Jersey and Jersey cross boners made bet $435-$600. Potter bulls: Heavy bulls made up to $1972.
April 4 sale: 160 yearling Friesian bulls and 150 assorted mixed age cattle.