Bush go down to HK at the Cake Tin
Horowhenua Kapiti have spoiled Piri Weepu’s return to his old home, Westpac Stadium, in Wairarapa Bush colours.
The fierce local rivalry went the way of the coastal men, number 8 Tyson Maki crossing twice in a 38-12 victory on Sunday.
Form suggested H-K would have the better of the fixture, boasting four wins from five matches coming into the tie, while Bush had just the one addition to their win column.
In recent years, expectations would have flipped the other way, with the men from the eastern edge of the Tararua Ranges having the better of the contest.
But following a sleepy start, in which H-K were allowed to march in to score through Nathan Kendrick within a couple of minutes, it always looked like heading their way.
The players were surrounded at Westpac Stadium by 34,000 yellow seats, two bus loads of Horowhenua Kapiti supporters and the occasional Wairarapa stalwart.
Bush did wake up following their sluggish start, showing strong defence and energy in attack, but H-K were always able to hold them out.
Weepu himself was in energetic mood. He’s not the player of his Hurricanes or All Blacks days, clearly, but still has a certain amount of class about him.
He was busy, always trying to make something happen for his team to no avail.
Ill discipline was proving costly for Bush in the first half, more than anything else. They allowed James So’oialo to kick a pair of penalties, and when Eddie Cranston was yellow carded on the stroke of halftime, H-K barged over from the resulting scrum as Maki had his first of the day.
Maki scored a second just after halftime, again catching Bush early as their minds remained in the changing sheds. Willie Paia’aua added a third with a burst down the left wing from their next attack.
Bush scored a pair of consolation tries, Chris Raymond scooping up a loose ball before darting in under the posts and Cyrus Baker crashing over in the corner.
Baker was yellow carded in the final 10 minutes, allowing Kendrick to score his second against the weakened Bush defence to cap off the performance.
Piri Weepu, pictured earlier this season, put in an energetic display against Horowhenua Kapiti last Saturday.