Bor­der has a re­venge mis­sion

Wanganui Midweek - - COMMUNITY LINK -

Waver­ley Har­vest­ing Bor­der has a score to set­tle when it chal­lenges Black Bull Liquor Pi­rates for the Grand Ho­tel Chal­lenge Shield at Spriggens Park when the sec­ond round of the Tas­man Tan­ning Wan­ganui premier cham­pi­onship starts on Satur­day.

Pi­rates lifted the tro­phy 22-17 off Bor­der on the start­ing day of the premier qual­i­fy­ing se­ries on March 24 and has with­stood six chal­lenges since then in­clud­ing a 19-all draw with Wan­ganui Car Cen­tre Kaierau and a nail-bit­ing 12-10 win over play­ing through cham­pi­ons McCarthy Trans­port Ruapehu.

Now Bor­der, who won the Chal­lenge Shield last sea­son, comes to Spriggens Park for the first time this win­ter look­ing for a re­venge vic­tory. His­tory, how­ever, in­di­cates it could be quite a tus­sle be­cause the South Taranaki club has only beaten Pi­rates three times in nine games in the city since Bor­der re­turned from the Taranaki union in 2011.

Bor­der has been con­sis­tent in reach­ing the play-offs for the past six years in­clud­ing mak­ing four fi­nals and win­ning the ti­tle in 2016 but the club has man­aged only six vic­to­ries in 16 vis­its to play Pi­rates and Marist in the past seven sea­sons.

Pi­rates has won five times at home, drew 17-all last year and lost three times when host­ing Bor­der.

Marist has won four of seven home games against Bor­der since 2011.

Pi­rates’ re­cent record against Bor­der on Spriggens Park —

2017 drew 17-all, 2016l lost 17-57 (Chal­lenge Shield), 2015 won 26-5 (Chal­lenge Shield), 2014 won 26-13 and 18-16 (semi-fi­nal), 2013 lost 5-16 (Chal­lenge Shield), 2012 won 25-20 (Chal­lenge Shield) and lost 6-23 (semi­fi­nals), 2011 won 19-12.

Pi­rates, the only un­beaten team this year, just held off a de­ter­mined Ruapehu side 12-10 a fort­night ago to win the first round hon­ours — the Paul Mitchell Cup and the Break­ers’ Bar $500 voucher.

Pi­rates start the sec­ond round on 29 points, 3 pts ahead of Bor­der and Ruapehu with Tai­hape (23 pts) mak­ing up the Top Four with seven more qual­i­fy­ing games ahead for the eight premier sides.

Bor­der has scored 284 points and con­ceded 97 com­pared with Pi­rates’ 146 (85) but Pi­rates played one less match be­cause strug­gling Set­tlers Honey Nga­mat­apouri de­faulted.

Bor­der has scored 37 tries and con­ceded 13 com­pared with Pi­rates’ 22 for and 12 against.

Ruapehu beat Kaierau 15-5 at Ohakune in the first round and will be hop­ing for a more con­vinc­ing re­sult when the teams meet at the Devon Road Coun­try Club on Satur­day. Since los­ing by 10 points at Rochfort Park Kaierau has had some close tus­sles with higher ranked op­po­si­tion this win­ter in other away fix­tures — 19-all against Pi­rates, 28-29 v Marist and 20-22 v Tai­hape with the heav­i­est de­feat 10-29 at home against Bor­der.

A prob­lem for Kaierau has been try­ing to gain con­trol in the for­wards and this is one area where Ruapehu is tra­di­tion­ally strong.

Marist has been very dis­ap­point­ing this sea­son but should still beat Nga­mat­apouri up the Waito­tara Val­ley this week­end (it was 36-10 on open­ing day) and Tai­hape should beat win­less Ratana (it was 21-10 in round one) at Mar­ton Park.

Takarangi Cup

Satur­day’s Pi­rates v Bor­der premier game at Spriggens Park could well de­ter­mine the fate of the Met­ro­pol­i­tan do­mes­tic cham­pi­onship (Alex Takarangi Cup) for 2018. The two clubs have dom­i­nated the tro­phy over the past six years.

Un­beaten Pi­rates, Metro champs in 2014-15-17, cur­rently have 16 pts, one clear of 2012-13-16 hold­ers Bor­der with Marist on 10

pts, Kaierau 9 and Nga­mat­apouri nil.

Since the start of the union­wide cham­pi­onships in 1987 Bor­der (for­merly Waver­ley) has won the Metro do­mes­tic ti­tle seven times, in­clud­ing in 1980-81-94-95 as Waver­ley, and Pi­rates won in 1990 and 2000 prior to three wins in the last four years.

If re­cent years are any guide the cur­rent Takarangi Cup se­ries could go right down to the wire to de­ter­mine the tro­phy hold­ers.

Pi­rates edged out Bor­der 32 points to 31 last year to win the Takarangi Cup, it was 25 pts all in 2015 with Pi­rates win­ning 145 to 83 on points dif­fer­en­tial, and in 2014 it was 23-20 to Pi­rates.

The North­ern Wan­ganui do­mes­tic ti­tle will be de­cided on June 16 at Me­mo­rial Park when Tai­hape, who won the first round 17-10 in Ohakune, hosts Ruapehu.

Since the turn of the cen­tury Ruapehu has won the North­ern ti­tle 13 times in­clud­ing 11 on the trot be­tween 2004 and 2014 and Tai­hape won in 2000 (shar­ing it with Utiku OB), 2001, 2003 and 2015-16.

Note — The Takarangi Cup is named af­ter Ariki Mare­hura (Alex) Takarangi who was the first Wan­ganui player to ap­pear in 100 first-class matches.

He was re­garded as one of the most ver­sa­tile play­ers in the coun­try dur­ing his play­ing era, play­ing at full­back, cen­tre, wing and as a for­ward in his 62 matches for Wan­ganui be­tween 1898 and 1915. He scored tries to help Wan­ganui beat USA Uni­ver­si­ties 18-6 in 1910 and Aus­tralia 11-6 in 1913 and also played lo­cally against NSW in 1901 (8-9 loss) and the tour­ing An­glo-Welsh team in 1908 (lost 6-9). He played in a Ran­furly Shield chal­lenge against Taranaki in 1914 (3-17 loss).

Alex, born in Wan­ganui in 1876 and a Kaierau club mem­ber, also played for both Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu in 1896, and was full­back for North Is­land who drew 3-all with the South Is­land at Dunedin in 1904.

He cap­tained the orig­i­nal NZ Maoris to Aus­tralia in 1910 and was also skip­per in 1911 and 1913, play­ing 32 games for the Maoris. He was awarded an MBE and died in Wan­ganui in 1960

Ex pres­i­dent dies

Wan­ganui has lost one of its few Ma¯ ori pres­i­dents of re­cent years with the death of 78-year-old Phillip (Phil) Ra­ha­nia Hop­kins.

He was pres­i­dent of the WRFU in 2002 af­ter ear­lier serv­ing on the union’s man­age­ment com­mit­tee as a Ma¯ ori del­e­gate.

Phil, who farmed in Ruapehu and was a car­pen­ter by trade, was a staunch mem­ber of the Wan­ganui Marist Rugby Club.

Wan­ganui union pa­tron and life mem­ber Arch Roe­buck, who at­tended the fu­neral, said it was fit­ting that Phil was dressed in his WRFU union blazer, which he al­ways wore with pride, and was wear­ing a Marist club tie.

Pall bear­ers in­cluded for­mer Wan­ganui rep­re­sen­ta­tive Peter Te Huna and cur­rent ref­eree Ge­orge Te Huna.

Vi­tal Se­nior Match

The 10th and penul­ti­mate qual­i­fy­ing round in the Tas­man Tan­ning se­nior com­pe­ti­tion on Satur­day in­cludes an in­ter­est­ing clash be­tween de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Speirs Food Mar­ton and Marist Celtic on Mar­ton Park.

They are both well placed to qual­ify in the Top Six when the 11-team grade is split into Six and Five teams for sec­ond round fix­tures af­ter Queen’s Birth­day Week­end.

Kelso Hun­ter­ville took vis­it­ing Mar­ton apart 32-9 last week­end to lift the Stihl Shop Wan­ganui Chal­lenge Shield and open up a six point lead at the top of the se­nior points ta­ble with 39 pts.

Celtic, de­spite hav­ing the bye last Satur­day, has 33 pts, Mar­ton 29, Bor­der 25 and Coun­ties and Utiku OB 20 each.

This com­ing week­end Coun­ties chal­lenge un­beaten Hun­ter­ville for the Chal­lenge Shield at Kai­whaiki, sec­ond and third placed Celtic and Mar­ton clash, while Bor­der and Utiku OB have away matches at Spriggens Park (v Buf­fa­los) and Kaierau re­spec­tively. Tai­hape is home to Ruapehu with Pi­rates hav­ing the bye.

In the fi­nal first round qual­i­fy­ing games on May 26 none of the cur­rent top six teams meet each other.

The bot­tom five clubs at present are Pi­rates 18 pts, Tai­hape 17, Kaierau 13, Buf­fa­los 11 and Ruapehu 5.

With 313 points from eight games Hun­ter­ville is the top points scor­ing team in the premier and se­nior grades this win­ter, scor­ing 52 tries in the process. And the con­ceded 74 points is the least of any of the 19 teams in the two grades.

Ruapehu premier have scored 268 points (80 against) in seven games, Bor­der pre­miers 264 (97 against) from seven out­ings and Celtic se­niors 245 (96 against) in eight matches.

Tiari Tiko Tapu-Mumby is Hun­ter­ville’s top try scorer with nine fol­lowed by Peter Dux­field 8, Scott Parkes and Jamie Brett 7 each. Top points scor­ers are Ta­puMumby and Parkes with 45 each, Dux­field 40 and Guy Percy 39.

In the pre­miers Shaque­lle Waara (Ruapehu) has eight tries, one clear of Harry Symes (Bor­der) and Kahl Elers-Green (Ruapehu). Nick Hard­ing (Bor­der) has 90 pts and Mitchell Mil­lar (Ruapehu) 71.

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