Upset at Taipa
Eastern had their first pre-season hit out against Kerikeri at Taipa in very hot conditions on Saturday with the Mangonui senior club rugby champions eventually emerging narrow winners by four tries to three. The result could be regarded in some circles as an upset in regards to Kerikeri last season winning — and accepting — promotion to play the higher level of the Whangarei-based Southern Districts championship this year. Eastern coach Dave Jurlina noted the game was played in quarters with both sides needing plenty of water and lots of subs as the afternoon went on. It also presented an opportunity for both parties to experiment with new combinations thus saw different players coming and going throughout. “Considering it was their first game, Eastern played with a surprising level of ball skills and organisation. Kerikeri would be looking to work on their patterns as they are only two weeks away from the start of the competition, but have a very keen young side with plenty of skill,” said Jurlina, “The game was well refereed by John Hammond who gave up his Saturday to run around in the hot conditions.” Eastern travel to Hikurangi this weekend for their final pre season game but already nursing some early injuries.