Fans head east for epic rugby battle
OPINION: With the Manawatu gorge broken, we trekked over by the Saddle.
This took us through Vikings country (Central Vikings, that was a failure of epic proportions) to Napier.
While in summer Hawke’s Bay has delicious fresh fruit, yellow paddocks and the excitement of the now flooded Fantasy Land, in winter, well it has nothing.
With former Hawke’s Bay Mascot and front-row expert Paj Johnston unavailable for the trip with his worn out pelvis, we arrived in enemy territory.
Our team put on a very good performance. Especially gratifying was our lineout performance and the loose forward trio.
While magpies are aggressive, ambush experts, sneaky and territorial - their rugby team is not. They are struggling this season. Bulls are like Sharks. They like to intimidate. They like to chase stuff, smash it and remind everyone they are scary. So it was on Saturday night. We even got to play a couple of U19’s players ; one being former Ross Brown South Junior Ciarahn Matoe, who was busy in his debut and nailed his one opportunity at goal.
Winless on McLean Park since 1973, it was a resounding record breaker for the Taranaki Bulls, winning 48-17.
The Bulls don’t get to play Southland, so we won’t get to see Lewis Ormond play live in the struggling Southland Stags team. He is getting lots of game time and having to make a ton of tackles. On Wednesday night, with Lewis and Jesse opposing each other and Paul Williams on the whistle, it was great to see these exSouthern players going well.
And we’ll battle Jarrod Hoeata and the very competitive North Harbour in the last round, but may miss Kurt Baker who was injured playing for Manawatu.
We headed home, via the Pongaroa Pub for the fish meal, our thoughts and discussions moved on to Thursday’s game against former Kaponga player and Bulls assistant, Leo Crowley’s Tasman.
To be honest, it’s hard not to look forward a further week to the shield challenge – but let’s cement a win over Tasman first. Tasman had our number in the semis last year, with the Marty Banks Ebola and Beers show. It was one of the funnier days on the embankment I reckon.
TRFU has not had a great spell of weather for game nights, here’s hoping this Thursday night is different.
Ferdy, Taranaki rugby’s mascot celebrates a memorable victory against the Magpies.