Fri­day’s clash grass roots rugby at its best

Matamata Chronicle - - News/sport - By STEVEN SA­MUELS

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.

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