Fi­nal game looms for Wairarapa Bush

Wairarapa News - - SPORT - JACK BAR­LOW

A ragged old sea­son is about to come to an end for strug­gling Wairarapa Bush.

Satur­day’s game at Memo­rial Park will be the team’s last for the sea­son, and coach Joe Har­wood’s side is hop­ing to go out with a rare win on the board.

For all the team’s con­sid­er­able faults it has shown glimpses of prom­ise. Last Satur­day it ran com­pe­ti­tion lead­ers South Can­ter­bury close in Ti­maru, racing out to a shock 14-0 lead be­fore even­tu­ally cav­ing 20-29.

Har­wood said Wairarapa Bush had had its mo­ments, but hadn’t quite been able to trans­late them into re­sults.

In­juries had also hit the team hard.

‘‘To break it down, we’ve gone through 32 play­ers due to in­juries,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve in­jected 12 lo­cals into the Heart­land Cham­pi­onship for the first time. When that’s the sit­u­a­tion, it’s hard to get con­ti­nu­ity.’’

That lack of con­ti­nu­ity could be to blame for blow­ing a wealth of try scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties through­out the year.

Last week­end was a case in point, with Har­wood left be­moan­ing a cou­ple of try scor­ing chances gone beg­ging.

With such a tight score­line at the fin­ish, it’s hard not to won­der what a dif­fer­ence they might have made.

‘‘We just couldn’t quite get go­ing in the sec­ond half, although it wasn’t from lack of try­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘We prob­a­bly could have had an ex­tra cou­ple [of tries] in the sec­ond.’’

Piri Weepu had a strong game, while Tim Priest also showed his class.

In the pack An­drew McLean, James Pakoti and Epeli Rayaqayaqa were stand­outs.

Satur­day’s fi­nale is against West Coast, who re­main in the hunt for a Meads Cup semi­fi­nal berth.

West Coast will likely field exAll Black Corey Flynn, who played 15 tests for the na­tional side between 2003 and 2011.

If Weepu makes the field - he left 30 min­utes into last week’s game with a rib in­jury - the crowd will get the rare op­por­tu­nity to see two former All Blacks in ac­tion in Master­ton.

‘‘They’ve got ev­ery­thing to play for, but it’s the last game of the sea­son and we’re hop­ing to fin­ish strongly,’’ Har­wood said.


Piri Weepu passes the ball dur­ing last Satur­day’s game against South Can­ter­bury.

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