We’ve found an ex­tra gear says Wil­bore

Waikato Times Weekend - - RACING - JESSE KING

Pro­lific half­back Te Hata Wil­bore has loved how his Otoro­hanga side has re­sponded to pres­sure.

Head­ing into to­day’s Waikato premier club rugby fi­nal against Hamil­ton Old Boys at Waikato Sta­dium, Wil­bore has led all scor­ers in the sec­ond round with 81 points and helped pro­pel his side to where they are 80 min­utes away from a pos­si­ble ti­tle.

The taste of suc­cess wasn’t in­stant for Otoro­hanga how­ever, af­ter losses to Hau­tapu, Hamil­ton Marist and Melville to be­gin round two.

‘‘When our backs are against the wall, we find some­thing a lit­tle bit ex­tra as a team,’’ Wil­bore said.

‘‘We weren’t too far off those teams but that added pres­sure of hav­ing to win to make the fi­nals just kicked us into gear.’’

Since the com­pe­ti­tion restarted un­der its new for­mat, Wil­bore has been a vi­tal part of Otoro­hanga’s suc­cess, scor­ing four tries and be­ing in sub­lime goal-kick­ing form.

‘‘I hurt my foot there for a lit­tle bit, so I wasn’t tak­ing any kicks but once it healed up I was good to go and I’ve been hit­ting them pretty well,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s more about the re­sult for the team, rather than my form, but yeah I’m pretty happy with my­self.’’

Three years ago Wil­bore needed a change in life­style, so he moved from small town Opotiki in the Bay Of Plenty to small town Otoro­hanga in the Waikato.

He was con­vinced to make the move by his twin brother Te Amo, who had moved to Hamil­ton a year ear­lier and was play­ing for Otoro­hanga with the broth­ers’ high school mate Dy­lan Col­lier.

‘‘I’ve en­joyed the move. I got given my blazer a cou­ple of weeks ago and that meant a lot to me, I’ve made heaps of good mates here.’’

Wil­bore has pre­vi­ously at­tended NZRU and Chiefs de­vel­op­ment camps and played for King Coun­try in the Heart­land Cham­pi­onship.

He said the Waikato premier club rugby com­pe­ti­tion is a good one.

‘‘All the teams are pretty com­pet­i­tive and any­one can beat any­one on their day.

‘‘You get to play against a few Chiefs on the odd oc­ca­sion too, which you hope for and so it’s quite a good level of play.’’

They might come up against a Chief or two to­day but Wil­bore had al­ready iden­ti­fied his dan­ger men.

‘‘Most of their backs are pretty sharp but prob­a­bly Tuva [Iliesa Ratuva Tavu­yara] es­pe­cially. I played with him in King Coun­try. He’s pretty good and Sevu [Reece] too,’’ Wil­bore said.

He also praised his team-mates, top try-scorer Soni­valati Ra­muwa and cen­tre Eseroma Na­bal­awa, but made spe­cial men­tion of his for­wards.

‘‘We fig­ured out how we wanted to play, not spin­ning it too wide too early, get­ting good go for­ward first and earn­ing the right to go wide and our for­wards have been play­ing mean for months now.’’

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