UMS does hard yards in Easter match-ups

Team take heart from de­feats thanks to bet­ter form

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport -

The Easter week­end draw from hell de­scribes the Fri­day and Mon­day fix­tures for the Reid and Har­risonWaikato Stud UMS Se­nior A team.

As the only pre­mier team to have two away games it was go­ing to be a big ask with play­ers un­avail­able for a plethora of rea­sons but that is no ex­cuse and this brings pos­i­tive chal­lenges for all those in­volved.

Good Fri­day saw front run­ners Otoro­hanga host UMS at Is­land Re­serve on a great sur­face, con­ducive to fast open run­ning rugby and both teams’ sup­port­ers were cer­tainly not let down with tries a-plenty.

Otoro­hanga started with a very ba­sic game plan with one-off run­ners and loaded up one side which al­lowed open spa­ces for their backs. UMS how­ever were up to the chal­lenge and de­fused any attack with great de­fence. They didn’t give away early points as they have in past fix­tures. Otoro­hanga scored their first points from a turnover in the UMS scrum on the 15th minute mark.

UMS then ap­plied some great pres­sure to the Otoro­hanga pack re­sult­ing in a turnover in their 22 and the ball was quickly sent out to the out­sides and Sharman Emery was re­warded with a great try.

The is­sue that has hin­dered UMS has been the restarts and ev­ery time UMS scored points to get back into the match they gave away in­stant points from the kick- offs. This re­sulted in Otoro­hanga scor­ing again quickly.

Mid­way through the half, when UMS gained pos­ses­sion off set phases they looked the bet­ter team and as is the case with all op­po­si­tion to date, when they see a threat they give away in­fringe­ments and this al­lowed Ryan Tuhakaraina an easy penalty.

On the 34th minute UMS scored the try of the match with a great turnover from cap­tain Alex Bradley on the team’s goal line. The ball then was trans­ferred quickly to the out­sides and Sam Brill made the run­ning and passed back into the sup­port of Sharman then Chris Cros­dale to take the score to 15- 19 with min­utes re­main­ing.

UMS ini­tially de­fused the attack of the Otoro­hanga pack and a re­liev­ing scrum would have taken the half­time score to a close and UMS with the up­per hand, how­ever a turnover from the base of the scrum al­lowed an easy try which was dis­ap­point­ing.

At the half, coach Ge­orge Simp­kin im­plored his play­ers to stay in the game and was im­pressed that with only 25 per cent from set phases UMS were still able to show their class.

Otoro­hanga ad­mit­ted to tak­ing UMS a bit too lightly and their game plan was even more con­trolled in the sec­ond half, with dom­i­nance at rucks and mauls but this was only be­cause UMS had not been able to se­cure pos­ses­sion.

Once Otoro­hanga gained full con­trol of this as­pect, six sec­ond-half tries were scored to take the game away from UMS.

UMS how­ever did come back into the game in the fi­nal quar­ter with a try to Michael Autridge. They were all over their op­po­nents in the fi­nal 10 min­utes but could not crack the line to gain a bonus point.

The re­turn of Jamie McIn­tyre to the mid-field was a shin­ing light and his hard-nosed run­ning caused alarm to his op­po­si­tion as did hard run­ning Re­witi Vaimoso, although if they could get sup­port run­ners off him then play would de­velop fur­ther.

The sec­ond game of the week­end saw UMS play at Te Awa­mutu and with a few changes to the start­ing line-up through in­jury this was go­ing to be a big task.

But UMS were the bet­ter start­ing team. It looked as though Te Awa­mutu Sports were tak­ing the game a bit eas­ier than they wanted.

What was pleas­ing for UMS was their abil­ity at scrum and li­ne­out time to se­cure their own ball. This al­lowed front foot ball to first-five Ryan Tuhakaraina who was able to set his backs away with good ball.

Ac­cu­rate throw­ing came from Sam Rush and great takes by Michael Peters and Chris All­man, with the lat­ter play­ing his best game of the sea­son. What was un­for­tu­nate was the turnover of good po­si­tion in the UMS red zone. This al­lowed two easy tries mid­way through the half.

Te Awa­mutu then tried one too many times to run at the UMS backs and some great pres­sure from cap­tain for the day McIn­tyre and Vaimoso made Te Awa­mutu drop the ball.

Speedy winger Brill toed the ball ahead sev­eral times and with two de­fend­ers on his back he man­aged dot down close to the post.

This took the score to 7-14 with the con­ver­sion from Tuhakaraina.

With 10 min­utes in the half Te Awa­mutu used the ball well in the for­wards to take the game into the UMS red zone. This then al­lowed a penalty try soon af­ter to take the half­time score to 7-24.

Coach Ge­orge Simp­kin wanted more com­mit­ment at the rucks and mauls and loosies Chris Cawker and Te­vita Le­si­vakarua cer­tainly lifted their game in the sec­ond half and were out­stand­ing. It would have been hard to split the player of the day be­tween th­ese two.

UMS were the bet­ter team in the sec­ond half and des­per­ate de­fence and ac­cu­rate attack were a pos­i­tive as­pect of the game but bet­ter ball to the out­sides would have al­lowed more pen­e­tra­tion into the Te Awa­mutu half.

With 15 min­utes re­main­ing, from bro­ken play full­back Vaimoso went on one of his nu­mer­ous jig­ging runs and stepped three or four times to score close to the post and with the con­ver­sion by Tuhakaraina, UMS were only 10 points be­hind.

From the kick-off UMS knocked the ball on and Te Awa­mutu scored im­me­di­ately to take the game away from UMS.

How­ever, UMS con­tin­ued the attack and again were just short of scor­ing on full­time.

This was an en­cour­ag­ing per­for­mance by UMS and the way the com­pe­ti­tion goes you are never out of it, but UMS would like a win soon.

UMS have now had their tough road trip but the club and play­ers will be bet­ter for it.

One un­for­tu­nate in­jury was Autridge, who may be out for two to three months with a se­ri­ous shoul­der in­jury..

UMS host Hamil­ton Old Boys next Satur­day which will be an ex­cit­ing match up.

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