Coast too good for depleted Hammers
A 26-17 loss in their final build-up game and a lengthy injured list wasn’t the position Mid Canterbury’s coaches hoped to be in a week out from the start of rugby’s Heartland Championship.
But, it’s not all bad, co-coach Craig Dunlea said. Having some key players injured for Saturday’s final pre-competition clash against the West Coast in Methven gave some of the side’s younger players a chance to step up, and step up they did.
Too many mistakes in the first of three thirds played on Saturday put Mid Canterbury on the backfoot early on, but they clawed their way back.
‘‘We created a heck of a lot of opportunities but didn’t finish them off, that was the biggest thing,’’ Dunlea said.
‘‘There were positives; I think our defence was very, very good. We got off the line and put them under pressure. The tries that they got were pretty much all from our mistakes, like not securing the kick-off, dropping the ball and things like that.’’
Mid Canterbury start their Heartland Championship campaign against Poverty Bay in Ashburton on Saturday.
Meanwhile, in other representative action, the Tasman Griffins came from behind to beat Canterbury Country 33-24 at Nelson’s Trafalgar Park on Saturday.
Tasman were kept scoreless in the first half, with Canterbury Country holding a slender 3-0 lead at half time, but Tasman bounced back to kick-start their South Island invitation series with a win over an uncompromising Country team.
The lead changed three times during the second half as an early try to reserve hooker Brendan Asomua-Goodman was countered by two quick Country tries, to winger Kieran Miekle and fullback Mark Maitland, as the visitors took a 17-7 lead after just eight minutes.
Then the Griffins began their resurgence as tries to winger Fletcher Matthews, reserve first fiveeighth Andrew Knewstubb and other winger Tomas Aoake, finally put them ahead 26-17 with 14 minutes remaining.
A second try to Maitland quickly had Country back in touch at 26-24 with three minutes on the clock, before AsomuaGoodman struck at the death to seal a hard-earned win.
Next up, Canterbury Country play Otago B at Dunsandel on August 25.
Mid Canterbury’s Adam Williamson on the charge has his side went down to West Coast in their final pre-Heartland Championship match in Methven on Saturday.