Wan­ganui claim hat-trick of Meads Cup ti­tles

Sunday Star-Times - - Sport - STU PIDDINGTON

Wan­ganui’s leg­endary sta­tus in the Meads Cup con­tin­ued yes­ter­day when they lifted their third ti­tle in suc­ces­sion.

They were too com­posed for first-time fi­nal­ists Horowhenua Kapiti, win­ning 30-14 at Levin.

Horowhenua Kapiti made too many mis­takes un­der pres­sure, while Wan­ganui de­served their vic­tory, scor­ing three tries to one.

Wan­ganui left wing Cameron Crow­ley, the 2008 Heart­land player of the year, turned back the clock with an out­stand­ing per­for­mance, de­liv­er­ing two tries and scor­ing one him­self.

Wan­ganui cap­tain Cole Bald­win re­ceived the Meads Cup, named in hon­our of Sir Colin, from the leg­end’s brother Stan.

It is the sixth time Wan­ganui have lifted the Meads Cup since the Heart­land Cham­pi­onship was cre­ated in 2006.

Wan­ganui had he­roes across the field from Bald­win up front to Nick Hard­ing at the back.

No 8 Bryn Hud­son had a strong game, half­back Lind­say Hor­rocks was all class, while first-five Dane Whale and sec­ond-five Craig Clare com­bined su­perbly. For Horowhenua Kapiti, cap­tain Ryan Shelford im­pressed along with No 8 Tyson Maki.

Af­ter a sloppy open­ing from both sides Wan­ganui were first on the board with a set move from a scrum. An in­side pass from Clare found Crow­ley who bust open Horowhenua Kapiti and cen­tre Kaveni Dabenaise scored, with Clare adding the ex­tras.

Clare then missed penalty shots as the er­rors mounted against the home side. An­other penalty saw Wan­ganui switch kick­ers but full­back Hard­ing also missed from 45m.

Horowhenua Kapiti full­back An­drew McDougall then made a great run from the back spark­ing his side, and shortly after­wards James So’oialo landed a penalty to close the gap to 7-3.

Al­most im­me­di­ately Wan­ganui re­stored their ad­van­tage with Clare land­ing a handy off­side penalty.

Clare then ex­tended the Butcher Boys’ lead im­me­di­ately af­ter the break to 13-3 with his sec­ond penalty.

So’oialo then closed the gap again with a penalty as Horowhenua Kapiti started to show some more in­ten­sity.

The hosts then packed down an ex­cel­lent scrum and won a penalty against the feed, and So’oialo added his third penalty to make it 13-9.

Wan­ganui struck straight back with Crow­ley bust­ing Horowhenua Kapiti open and sub­sti­tute wing Samu Kubuna­vanua scor­ing with his first touch of the ball.

Hard­ing’s side­line con­ver­sion gave them a 20-9 ad­van­tage, with 20 min­utes re­main­ing.

Crow­ley sealed it for Wan­ganui when he scored af­ter some ex­cel­lent play from Whale and Dabenaise sent him away.

Horowhenua Kapiti sup­port­ers then had some­thing to cheer about when sec­ond-five Kalim Kelemete found some space and sent McDougall away to score.

HAGEN HOP­KINS

Wan­ganui are all smiles af­ter win­ning the Meads Cup fi­nal.

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