Horowhenua-Kapiti dom­i­nate Bay

The Horowhenua Mail - - SPORT - JOEL MAXWELL

Horowhenua-Kapiti rugby has steam­rolled Poverty Bay in a dis­play of omi­nous back­line po­ten­tial for the red, white and blues.

Play­ing in Gis­borne, in its first away game of the sea­son, H-K ran in five tries on the way to a 39-5 victory over the Bay on Satur­day.

H-K coach Chris Wil­ton said the win was a ‘‘fan­tas­tic per­for­mance’’ with the team go­ing up 27-0 by half­time.

‘‘It’s not of­ten we go away to Poverty Bay in Gis­borne and per­form like that, so we were stoked.’’

Four of the five tries came from the backs, mark­ing a dif­fer­ence over pre­vi­ous years’ for­ward-dom­i­nated per­for­mances.

He pointed to first-five James So’oialo - a for­mer Manu Samoa player - as a key to the back­line click­ing so early in the sea­son.

So’oialo, who had a solid per­for­mance at full­back in the firstup win over North Otago the pre­vi­ous week, was in com­mand­ing form on Satur­day.

‘‘He’s an ex in­ter­na­tional player, so he can make de­ci­sions in a split sec­ond. He sees space, he’s a very ac­cu­rate passer of the ball, dis­trib­u­tor, and of course he’s got a pro­lific kick.’’

Mean­while, he said the H-K scrum dom­i­nated along with the tra­di­tional big ball run­ners from the for­ward pack.

The team’s en­thu­si­asm was on dis­play in the H-K de­fen­sive ef­fort, Wil­ton said, with the play­ers ‘‘fly­ing into the tack­les’’ right through the game - de­fend­ing a 34 point lead like it was a one point lead.

‘‘They kept their stan­dards re­ally high. It was a very spe­cial per­for­mance and an un­for­get­table win.’’

H-K re­turn home to the Levin Do­main for their next match on Satur­day at 2pm against the Swamp Foxes of Thames Val­ley.

‘‘We know that they have a very strong for­ward pack as well, they dom­i­nated the Wan­ganui scrum last week. They’re sim­i­lar to us in that they have big ball run­ners, so I’m pick­ing this week is go­ing to be a big for­ward clash.’’

The win with bonus point puts H-K equal on the top of the ta­ble with Wan­ganui, on 9 points each.

Buller join them as the third un­beaten team, in sec­ond place with eight points.

Wil­ton said the try scor­ers on Satur­day were half­back Trent Reti, So’oialo, winger Wil­lie Paia’aua (2) and hooker Nathan Ken­drick.

PHO­TOS: KERRY MAR­SHALL/GETTY IM­AGES

Above, Horowhenua-Kapiti’s Wil­lie Paia’aua makes a break against Poverty Bay. Right, First-five James So’oialo weaves some magic in H-K’s 39-5 win.

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