Rugby: Tukapa move up to first equal

Sunday, Jun 09 2024

Rugby: Tukapa move up to first equal

Will Johnston

Photo: Scott Siffleet Photography.

Tukapa made a statement in the latest round of the CMK premier club rugby competition beating cross-city rivals New Plymouth Old Boys 43-3 at Sanders Park.

The win is Tukapa’s sixth consecutive and moves them into first-equal position with last year’s runners up Stratford-Eltham.

Round nine included a series of unpredictable results where Southern beat Stratford-Eltham 22-14 and Clifton thrashed Inglewood 76-17. The results keep the race for the playoffs alive, especially for the fourth place, with three weeks to play.

At Sanders Park, the match went to uncontested scrums after 20 minutes when an already battered Old Boys squad suffered injuries to their front row. It was out of place for Old Boys given they traditionally pride themselves on having a strong forward pack, which includes some Taranaki representatives. The loss is Old Boys third of the season.  

While happy with the win, Tukapa coach Nathan Lawrence isn’t reading too much into the result.

“The boys are in good spirits and enjoying getting around each other,” he said. “But again, we’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves, we still have plenty to work on.”

He said the game lost some flow once the scrums were depowered and hopes the Old Boys injuries “aren’t too bad.”

Lock Corbin Porteous, loose forward Nathaniel Peters and midfielder Henry Miles all showed their worth, Lawrence said, with the trio already selected in the Taranaki wider training squad.

Tukapa stormed out to a 24-3 lead at the break and eventually scored seven tries. For some tries, Old Boys’ scrambled defence opened holes for Tukapa, while others were scored through patience at the breakdown close to the line.

Tukapa is looking ahead to next week’s top-of-the-table clash against Stratford-Eltham at home.

“Despite their loss, they have been the team to beat all year,” Lawrence said.

“Our biggest work on is staying healthy.”

Stratford-Eltham’s loss at Victoria Park broke a seven-game winning streak.

Southern had the edge up front but trailed 14-12 at the break before the visitors snatched the lead during the middle stages of the second half. They managed to hold on despite a late onslaught by Stratford-Eltham.

Spotswood United were close to securing their second win in two years, narrowly being beaten by Coastal 35-29 at Yarrow Stadium.

In a frantic, fast-paced game, the scores were neck and neck throughout the match until the second half when Coastal extended their lead. But Spotswood United left their comeback too late.

It was a try-fest at Tikorangi as Clifton secured two wins on the bounce.

The win moves Clifton into fourth place, equal with Old Boys.

Clifton was always in control as they led 35-5 at halftime.

Inglewood’s Hayden Keeling played in his 100th match.

In the women’s competition, leaders Clifton trounced Tukapa 94-0 and Southern beat Inglewood 44-12. Coastal-Okaiawa had the bye.

Men’s premier points: Tukapa 25, Stratford-Eltham 25, Coastal 24, NPOB 18, Clifton 18, Southern 14, Spotswood United 8, Inglewood 8.