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New Zealand Heartland Provincial Champions 2010

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North Otago Rugby Review/Results

Heartland Rugby Review – Ruatoria


North Otago produced a disciplined display to defeat East Coast at Wharekura Park, 25-23 and pick up a valuable four competition points.  There was little between the two sides with the biggest margin between the two sides being six points when North Otago went out to a 19-13 lead in the 52nd minute.  Goal kicking was the key to North Otago’s success with fullback Ed Keohane kicking three penalties and first five eighth, Ben Patston, two.


East Coast took the early led when right winger Whaimotu Craft-Chemis beat two tacklers to score an unconverted try.  Four minutes later Patston kicked the first of his two penalties.  Centre TJ Moeke sparked an attack for East Coast five minutes later and a slick grubber kick by East Coast first five eighth, Sikeli Vorenasu enabled big lock Ricky Waitoa to gather and crash over to take his side out to a 10-3 lead.  The second quarter belonged to North Otago as a Willie Tahitua try and a second Patston penalty gave North Otago an 11-10 lead at halftime.


Keohane who took over the kicking duties in the second half took North Otago out to a 14-10 lead in the 46th minute but three minutes later Vorenasu kicked a penalty to reduce the lead to a solitary point.  Three minutes later almost from the kick off Ralph Darling leapt high to grab possession and from the resulting charge halfback Robbie Smith scored wide out to take North Otago out to a 19-13 lead.  Three minutes later East Coast decided to take the five metre lineout from a penalty and then drove hooker Lloyd Gabriel in for an unconverted try to give North Otago a narrow 19-18 lead.  Keohane added another penalty to take North Otago out to 22-18 before Craft-Chemis finished off a great drive by East Coast initiated by lock Everard Reid and Gabriel to put East Coast into a 23-22 lead.  Ten minutes to go Keohane added his third penalty and North Otago held on for the final ten minutes to register its first win of the season. 


In other games Mid Canterbury came from behind to beat Wairarapa-Bush, 29-23,Wanganui beat South Canterbury, 24-23, Horowhenua-Kapiti downed King Country,19-18, Thames Valley held off Buller,23-18 and West Coast registered its second win with a 30-14 win over Poverty Bay.


The evenness of the Heartland competition was amply illustrated in the third round.  Unbeaten Mid Canterbury leads the table with 13 points from Thames Valley (12) while Wairarapa-Bush (10) and King Country (9) and West Coast (9) are the top five. The next five teams, Buller, South Canterbury, Horowhenua-Kapiti, North Otago and Wanganui are all on six points followed by East Coast (5) and Poverty Bay (0).


North Otago Rugby Review/Results

Heartland Rugby
The rugby worms turned in the first round of Heartland rugby.  Wanganui, three times winner of the Meads Cup was upended 17-11 by King Country.  Thames Valley knocked over South Canterbury in Paeroa by an identical score, while West Coast beat last season’s Lochore Cup winners, Buller 23-17 and last season’s bottom team Horowhenua-Kapiti almost toppled the 2012 Meads Cup winners East Coast, going under 24-25. 

The team that wanted it most, Wairarapa-Bush, beat North Otago, 20-18 on Saturday in the first round of Heartland rugby.  North Otago led 8-7 at halftime but it was a positive, motivated Wairarapa Bush side that had the better of the final forty minutes.

The game as a whole lacked structure and cohesion but there were some fine individual performances. The visitors had the edge in the forwards controlling the bulk of the lineouts and sharing honours in the scrum, many of which were messy affairs, but in the loose Wairarapa-Bush produced a couple of very capable forwards in John van Vliet and James Goodger who devoured the loose ball.

Tighthead prop Finnbarr Kerr-Newell scrimmaged well and he produced some thundering runs with the ball in hand and displayed real pace to be in position to score his side’s first try.  Clark Butcher and Lachie McFadzean ensured that their side had ample lineout ball while Glen Walters at first five eighth was a talented general along with strong running midfielder Byron Karaitana.

North Otago’s outstanding forward was lock Eric Duff.  Whether it was winning lineout ball or taking the ball up, Duff excelled but too often received insufficient support and encouragement.  Captain Josh Clark was an aggressive defender and an avaricious seeker of the loose ball but the rest of the pack never combined into and efficient unit.

North Otago had pace and enterprise out wide but too few opportunities arrived their way mainly through to indecisive decision making further infield.  Chris Talanoa had to go looking for work and did so admirably while Simeli Koniferedi from fullback was starved of the ball.

North Otago co-coach, Mike Mullins believed it was a lack of urgency.
“We were one step behind for the whole game and lacked that urgency we’ve had in the build-up.  I guess we just take a bonus point and plan for next week against South Canterbury.  It all comes back to mental preparation and we’ve got to look at that area in the coming week.  Wairarapa Bush deserved their win.  We still created opportunities and we were still creating line-breaks but we didn’t get any roll on from them so if we can clean up that area hopefully we’ll score more points.”

After a scoreless first twenty seven minutes North Otago broke out from their twenty two.  Robbie Smith took a tap penalty and Koniferedi and Talanoa combined down the right flank to send Talanoa in for an unconverted try.  Seven minutes later Wairarapa Bush ran the ball and from a ruck outside the North Otago twenty two, Walters found space and found Kerr-Newell in support for the try which Walters converted.  North Otago first five eighth Ed Keohane kicked the first of his two penalties on the stroke of halftime to give North Otago an 8-7 lead.

Fourteen minutes into the second half Walters initiated a move on halfway.  Kerr-Newell carried on the movement and fullback Nick Olson chipped ahead and winger Nathan Hunt gathered on the bounce to score for Walters to convert and take the visitors out to a 14-7 lead.  Walters added a field goal three minutes later before North Otago came back with a second Keohane penalty and a well-constructed try to replacement prop Toetuu Hausia and Keohane’s conversion narrowed the gap to a solitary point before Walters kicked a penalty eleven minutes from fulltime.

Wairarapa Bush 20 (Finnbarr Kerr-Newell, Nathan Hunt tries; Glenn Walter’s penalty, field goal, 2 con)
North Otago 18 (Chris Talanoa, Toetuu Hausia tries; Ed Keohane 2 pen, con).
HT: 8-7 North Otago.

Heartland Preview

The 2013 Heartland competition kicks off tomorrow afternoon with the playing of the first round at six venues.

East Coast
Round 1: v Horowhenua-Kapiti in Ruatoria (2.30p.m.)
Coach: Ngarimu Simpkins
Captain: Ngarimu Simpkins.
Last year: 1st. Meads Cup winners.
Key Players: James McGougan, Luke Tihema, Adam Tolua, Aleki Kisina.
Chances: Top four.  Difficult to topple even without Rua Tipoki.

Round 1: v King Country in Wanganui( 2.30p.m.)
Coach: Karl Hoskin
Captain: Peter Rowe.
Last Year: 2nd. Meads Cup runners-up
Key Players:P eter Rowe.
Chances: Meads Cup winners again.  Expect an unbeaten run.

Round 1: v North Otago in Oamaru(1.00p.m.)
Coach: Mark Rutene
Captain: John van Vliet
Last Year:  Meads Cup semi-finalists (3rd)
Key Players: Finbarr Kerr-Newell, Clarke Butcher, Sam Marshall-Wilson, Johan van Vliet, Nathan Hunt, Cameron Hayton.
Chances: Top four.  Has retained crucial combinations and strong defence.

North Otago
Round 1: v Wairarapa-Bush in Oamaru (1.00p.m.)
Coaches: Mike Mullins/Troy Looms
Captain: Josh Clark.
Last year: Meads Cup semi-finalists (4th).
Key Players: Lemi Masoe, Simeli Koniferedi, Eric Duff, Ralph Darling. Palenapa Mafi.
Chances: Top four but it may take time for combinations to click

Round 1: v West Coast in Greymouth (2.30p.m.)
Coaches: Craig Scanlan/Craig Neil
Captain: Phil Beveridge/Andrew Stephens
Last year: winners Lochore Cup (5th).
Key Players: Phil Beveridge, Luke Brownlee, Logan Mundy, Will Saukuru.
Chances: Lochore Cup semi-finalists.  Has experience with Beveridge and Brownlee accumulating 268 first class games.

South Canterbury
Round 1: v Thames Valley in Timaru (2.30p.m.)
Coach: Chester Scott.
Captain: Andrew Scarlett
Last Year: Lochore Cup semi-finalists.(6th)
Key Players: Andrew Scarlett, Hayden Mitchell, Nick Strachan, Steve Burt, Tristram Johnston
Chances: Meads Cup semi-finalists.  Will be out to make amends for 2012.

Mid Canterbury
Round 1: v Poverty Bay in Ashburton (2.30p.m.)
Coaches: Glenn Moore/Grant Keenan/Geoff Frew.
Captain: Jon Dampney
Last Year: Lochore Cup semi-finalists (7th )
Key Players: Grant Polson, Dwayne Burrows, James Carr, Richard Catherwood.
Chances: Lochore Cup semi-finalists. Can Glenn Moore turn Mid Canterbury around?

Poverty Bay
Round 1: v Mid Canterbury in Ashburton (2.30p.m.)
Coach: Mutu Ngarimu
Captain: Sione Ngatu
Last Year: Lochore Cup semi-finalists(8th)
Key Players: David Philander, Efoti Moimoi, Ruan du Plooy.
Chances: Lochore Cup semi-finalists.  Had a preseason win over East Coast.

West Coast
Round 1: v Buller in Greymouth (2.30p.m.)
Coaches: Allan Lindsay/Sean Cuttance.
Captain: Troy Tauwhare.
Last Year: (9th).
Key Players: Nick Makea, Tim Priest, Allan Monk.
Chances: bottom four.  Four teenagers in the squad but 2015(125thJubilee) the big aim.

Thames Valley
Round 1: v South Canterbury in Timaru (2.30p.m.)
Coaches: Roger Wilton/Matt Bartlett/Andre Wilson.
Captain: Blake Hill.
Last Year: (10th)
Key Players: Allan McLean, Kieran Ramage, David Bason.
Chances: Bottom four but has a big strong forward pack.

King Country
Round 1: v Wanganui in Wanganui (2.30p.m.)
Coach: Kurt McQuilkin.
Captain: Brian Mansfield.
Last Year: (11th)
Key Players: Ted Tauroa, Anthony Wise, Steve Ketu, Peni Te Whare.
Chances: Bottom four.  Will a new backline lift the Rams?

Round 1: v East Coast in Ruatoria (2.30p.m.)
Coach: Jared Tanira
Captain: Grant Robson.
Last Year (12th).
Key Players: Aaron Kearney, Luka Gibb, Robin Praat, Tainui Brown, David Thompson.
Chances: Bottom four.  Showed tenacity in recent Ranfurly Shield challenge.

Rugby Feature

North Otago and Wairarapa-Bush will meet for the twentieth time when the two sides kick off the Heartland competition in Oamaru on Saturday.  The history of rugby between the two Unions goes back to 1972 when Wairarapa and Bush rugby Unions combined to become Wairarapa-Bush. Prior to that the first encounter between either of the two Unions and North Otago occurred in 1937 when North Otago beat Wairarapa, 19-16 in Masterton.  The North Otago team that day was S Easton, G McKenzie, D Gillies, J Borrie, T Dwyer, R Hunt, R Hammill, W Watts, H Carrington, J Easton, B Watson, R Miller, E Strachan, H Carrodus, R Ludemann and A Brown.

Two years later Wairarapa came south and beat North Otago, 12-11, but there was no further contact between the two sides until 1954 when North Otago in Oamaru beat Wairarapa, 18-9 with Jimmy Lauder getting a hat trick of tries. Murray McCulloch got two and Maurie Collings added a try.

1955 saw North Otago tour the North Island beating Bush in Pahiatua, 11-8 with Pop Cowie, Jock Hamilton and Laurie Tempero scoring tries.  Terry Perriam converting one of the tries.

Ten days later after having played Wanganui and Taranaki, North Otago lost to Wairarapa,6-13, with Alistair Robinson  and Jock Hamilton scoring tries.

There was then a break of seventeen years before the two sides met again in 1972 with the newly formed Wairarapa-Bush Union taking the game 26-11 with Doug Hurst and Gary Ford scoring tries and Norm McKenzie adding a penalty for North Otago.

It was another 27 years before the two   met again in 1999 when in Oamaru, North Otago shut out Wairarapa-Bush, 17-0  with Barry Fox and Wayne Miller scoring tries and Ray Gutsell converting both tries and kicking a penalty.

The following season Wairarapa-Bush spoilt North Otago coach Glenn Moore’s introduction to Third Division rugby with a 20-15 win with Simon Porter kicking five penalties for North Otago.  A fortnight later in Masterton, North Otago avenged that defeat with a 19-14 win. Mike Mavor scored a try and Porter converted the try and added four penalty goals.

2001 saw North Otago take the honours in Masterton, 20-6 and in 2002 again in Masterton, North Otago beat Wairarapa-Bush, 27-14 before going on to take the Third Division final.

North Otago was promoted to Second division in 2003 and consequently the two unions did not meet again until 2006 when on its home ground, Wairarapa-Bush squeezed out a 19-18 win in pool play and later in the season in the Meads Cup semi-final, Wairarapa-Bush downed North Otago, 25-19.

2007 was to be North Otago’s year. Wairarapa Bush ended North Otago’s winning sequence of seven games with a 15-7 win in Masterton just prior to the semi-finals.  North Otago recovered to beat Wairarapa-Bush in the Meads Cup semi-finals in Oamaru, 30-13 with Stephen Sasagi scoring two tries and Joe Mamea, one.  North Otago went on to beat Wanganui in Oamaru in the Meads Cup final.

2008 saw North Otago win 44-19 and in 2009 took the honours again, 29-20, with Greg Zampach (2), Luke Herden and Tevita Fifita scoring tries.

The two Unions match on Saturday will be the twentieth between the two Unions with North Otago having won twelve and Wairarapa-Bush, seven.

Wairarapa-Bush has had varied success. It won the Meads Cup in 2006 with a 16-14 win over Wanganui. It lost to North Otago in the 2007 Meads Cup semi-final and in 2008 was knocked out in the Lochore Cup semi-final by Horowhenua-Kapiti,17-37. 2009 saw Wairarapa-Bush fail to make the playoffs but it took the Lochore Cup in 2010 beating Buller, 15-9 in the final.

2011 was a disappointing year for Wairarapa-Bush winning only one game, that over Horowhenua-Kapiti, 47-10, but losing to North Otago,26-41. Last season Wairarapa-Bush went down to North Otago, 21-28 but it qualified for the Meads Cup playoffs losing to Wanganui, 20-23.

North Otago’s Heartland programme for 2013:
  • 24 August: v Wairarapa-Bush (Oamaru)
  • 31 August: v South Canterbury (Timaru)
  • 7 September: v East Coast (Ruatoria)
  • 14 September: v Mid Canterbury (Oamaru)
  • 21 September: v Poverty Bay (Gisborne).
  • 28 September:  v Wanganui (Oamaru).
  • 5 October: v West Coast (Greymouth)
  • 12 October: v Horowhenua-Kapiti (Oamaru).