Final game looms for Wairarapa Bush
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.