Aotea Rugby Seniors hold on for win
A depleted Aotea senior rugby side managed to hang on for a win 29-27 against Waipawa, a team one place ahead of it in the competition, at Rugby Park on Saturday, June 23.
Aotea began strongly scoring two converted tries to lead 14-0 before Waipawa came back to score two tries of its own converting one of them.
A penalty increased the lead to 17-12 before a yellow card reduced Aotea to 14 players. Waipawa seized the opportunity to score, its winger outflanking Aotea’s defence to score in the corner, a remarkable conversion giving the visitors the lead 17-19 at halftime.
Back to full numbers, Aotea scored early in the second half when a break up the centre by Eruera Hauiti was passed to star winger Piritea McGuire who fed a rampaging Bailey Johnson scoring under the posts.
Aotea’s forwards continued to work hard in the loose and they combined with its backline to put prop Bailey Johnson over for his second try — the lead now being 29-19 with 12 minutes to play.
A penalty to Waipawa narrowed the gap to seven, spurring on its forwards to pressure Aotea’s line. Good control of possession against a determined defence eventually yielded a Waipawa try in the corner. Crucially the conversion missing.
The last two minutes had Aotea in defence mode and Waipawa pointless for an Aotea win.
For Aotea Piritea McGuire was every where on the counter attack while 16-year-old Bailey Johnson (almost a veteran of senior rugby at this tender age) was on hand to use his bulk to score two critical tries. The backline was directed skilfully by second-five Wharemako Paewai in the absence of the Petera boys although Tama arrived in time to play the last 20 minutes.
Wharemako Paewai close to the Waipawa line with Piritea McGuire in support.
Eruera Hauiti tries to steal the ball from a Waipawa throw.
(Left): Shaun Watson led the forward charge on many occasions.
Aotea’s winger Piritea McGuire was lethal on the counter attack.