Welling­ton storm to vic­tory

The Southland Times - - SPORT -

Welling­ton are up to sec­ond in the Farah Palmer Cup, af­ter a hard­fought win over Waikato.

The crack Coun­ties Manukau Heat still lead the premier­ship di­vi­sion, but Welling­ton’s emer­gence is more un­ex­pected. They came in to the cam­paign hop­ing to sneak into a semi­fi­nal and re­garded Waikato as one of the sides they might be com­pet­ing with for that berth.

The Pride were 5-0 down, come half­time at Hamil­ton Marist’s home game on Satur­day, but a try to lock Sanita Le­vave and two Aca­cia Te Iwi­mate penal­ties saw them pre­vail 11-5.

‘‘I thought our for­ward pack re­ally came to play. Our scrums and set­pieces gen­er­ally were good again and the bench made a real im­pact,’’ Welling­ton head coach Ross Bond said.

‘‘We’ve got a team of fin­ish­ers, from [num­bers] 16-22, who do a re­ally good job for us. They were out­stand­ing again.’’

In heavy con­di­tions, Donna Fer­ma­nis’ try con­sti­tuted the first half’s only points-scor­ing ac­tion. But Welling­ton grad­u­ally over­pow­ered Waikato in the sec­ond spell and got their re­ward.

‘‘We had a num­ber of real strong ball-car­ri­ers to­day. Jackie PateaFereti, Kiri Mei and Sanita Le­vave were re­ally strong. The start­ing fron­trow did their work, be­fore the re­serves came on and fin­ished off the job for us,’’ said Bond.

That se­cured Welling­ton’s sec­ond win of the sea­son, hav­ing beaten Hawke’s Bay and lost to Manawatu¯.

Coun­ties, mean­while, con­tinue to sweep all be­fore them, with Auck­land the lat­est team to be over­whelmed. Hazel Tu­bic’s 16-point haul en­sured the de­fend­ingcham­pion Heat made no race of it, beat­ing the Storm 36-12.

Auck­land now have just the one win from three starts, which few would have pre­dicted.

The fact Can­ter­bury are right amongst it comes as no shock. They’re level with Welling­ton, but with a slightly in­fe­rior points dif­fer­en­tial, de­spite Satur­day’s 40-10 win over Manawatu¯.

Otago lead the sec­ond tier cham­pi­onship di­vi­sion, fol­low­ing their 39-17 win over Hawke’s Bay.

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Hooker Asafo Au­mua leaves Can­ter­bury full­back Ge­orge Bridge in his wake in a stun­ning first-half try for Welling­ton.

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