UMS handed a lesson in possession
Reid and Harrison/Waikato Stud UMS 15 Hautapu 69
Disappointing would be the best way to describe UMS’s Senior A home fixture at Bedford against Hautapu this weekend.
With progress been made each week, coaches George Simpkin and Darryl Hughes were expecting an improved performance from the UMS side.
The Directional Drilling/ Pearson Engineering Senior B’s played their best game of the season and the crowd and sponsors day participants were buzzing.
With a few changes in the starting lineup, UMS began well against the bigger Hautapu pack and a pleasing sight was the good scrumaging and better possession at the lineout.
But what was to become crucial was the lack of first up and dominate tackling by the UMS team and Hautapu plugged that weakness throughout the day, until they seemed to be running with ease through the defensive lines.
Hautapu began the game with two quick tries and this again was a blueprint to the UMS start of each game, however as scripted in the all the games to date UMS came back with two tries of their own.
With Hautapu admitting that they targeted the spot tackling in the UMS backline, this initially played into UMS hands and allowed space on the outsides.
With the space available on the outside, wingers Sam Brill and Sharman Emery got into the Hautapu red zone. Sam Brill scored his first try from a quick penalty tap and a great face ball from Michael Autridge from the ruck, and he dotted in the corner.
On the back of more possession UMS then took control of the match and some great ball to the backs saw Sam score his second try and this was converted by Ryan Tuhakaraina to take the score to 12-all.
With five minutes remaining UMS lacked a bit of judgement and this allowed two quick penalties, which Hautapu profited by scoring two tries and took the half time score to 12-24.
All signs were that UMS were going to compete better in the second half with a great start thanks to prop Lotoa Aliimatafitafi. He was supported well by Michael Peters, who played his best game of the season. This allowed UMS a penalty and it was slotted nicely by Sharman.
The match then changed as Hautapu were able to modify their game plan and utilise the drift defence in the backline, which put UMS into individual mindset in the midfield with the outsides been blocked.
Hautapu then targeted the rucks and mauls with vigour and passion and this allowed plenty of turnovers and some good front foot ball.
Another contributing factor was the loss of Captain Alex Bradley and UMS then lost some direction and composure, and the final 20 minutes were all Hautapu.
There were some pleasing aspect for UMS and Hautapu acknowledge that UMS showed a physical game expecting.
But Captain Alex Bradley admits we need to keep in the game and maintain possession, as turnover’s are the elephant in the room that needs to change.
UMS face a challenge over the Easter break, with away games to Otorohanga on Friday and Te Awamutu on Easter Monday.
UMS however need to head the advice of famous American swimmer and actor, Johnny Weissmuller, ‘‘with but few exceptions, it is always the underdog who wins through sheer willpower’’.
Player of the day points were 3 to Chris Crosdale, 2 to Michael Peters and 1 to Sam Brill.
Game Points: Tries - Sam Brill (2), Conversion - Sharman Emery, Penalty - Ryan Tuhakaraina.