Live Rugby returns

Live Rugby returns


Taylors Wanderers rugby teams back to the future


Taylor’s Wanderers Division 1 team picked up again at Greenmeadows on Saturday, 15 weeks after the opening game on 14 March, prior to the Covid-19 lockdown.

It was a case of Back to the Future with some Wanderers stalwart players returning for the Car Company championship match against Stoke, played in ideal winter conditions.

Jesse Pitman-Joass, Sione Havili and Alex Ainley returned to the Blue and Gold after various breaks away; Jesse following his last game in 2018, Sione being a key part of the team last year before his promotion to The Crusaders and Alex continuing his 50 plus matches for the club dating back to 2006. Their participation for the club in these challenging times is a testament to their own character but also to the healthy rugby fraternity that exists between The Crusaders franchise and the Tasman union.

Uncertainty exists in sport in general following the events of the 26th March and it is extremely pleasing to have players of Super rugby calibre involved in the local competition, sending a clear message that rugby is back and serious in Nelson, as well as displaying an admirable respect for the Brightwater club.

The match was an even contest with the much larger Stoke forward pack slowly exerting a dominance at scrum time, although Wanderers did enjoy more territorial advantage but were unable to convert three excellent opportunities in to points, while Stoke took both chances when in the Wanderers 22m to lead 15-8 after 30 minutes. Wanderers twice had lineout chances on Stoke’s 5 metre line but on both occasions tenacious Stoke defence resulted in
maul turnovers, however right on halftime at the 3rd attempt, Dan Mclauchlan was driven over by his pack and the score was closed to 15-13 at the break. The Stoke crowd anticipated their team rolling over Wanderers in the second half, exploiting the scrum and weight advantage, especially following Alex Ainley’s departure, however a combination of Wanderers resilience and a determined, effective defence, assisted it must be said by some Stoke errors and poor decision making, resulted in Stoke being unable to increase their score for the final 50 minutes. During the 2nd half Wanderers stole ball at crucial times; Josh Moorhouse twice winning vital Stoke lineouts and some key breakdown turnovers by Chris Halaufia, Steve Soper and Sione Havili, who also continued to make huge in roads carrying the ball towards Stoke territory. It took almost 20 minutes before Tayne Lockwood scored a superb try following an excellent kick and chase where three Wanderers players trapped the Stoke fullback and regained possession before sending Lockwood free. 15-18

Wanderers smarter attitude and commitment to the team plan discussed at the break, was rewarded with an excellent team try to Fletcher Matthews when the Blue and Gold’s had been reduced to 14 men following the yellow card awarded to Tone Vaka. This was a huge psychological blow struck and took Wanderers into the lead 15-23. Wanderers ability to break out from deep was again a key to a final try right on fulltime to centre Elnino Peniamina and a fully deserved 28-15 victory to Taylors Wanderers.

Gabba de Kock led his pack manfully, ably supported by every player who did their job well, tackling low, running hard and working as a team together. Sione Havili was immense, but it was a day where teamwork and club spirit were rewarded. The team Player of the Day awards were awarded to Cameron King (3) for a fine all round match at half back, Chris Haluafia (2) and Jayden Woolley (1) who varied play intelligently at first five.


Women’s game

Meanwhile at the same time the Wanderers 3 Bee Women’s team was starting their season in Riwaka against the local team. The day had begun badly for the Wanderers Ladies when on arrival at the ground they were advised that the kick off time had been changed to 3pm but due to a communication error Wanderers had not been informed. Although a most unwelcome disruption, the game did eventually get underway at 3pm and with many Wanderers having their debut match, a close, tight game ensued before Riwaka got home 17-10. Coach Jo Cotton was full of praise for her young team and took positives from the individual defence and team spirit displayed by the Ladies. Although Riwaka scored first, Wanderers replied before conceding the next two tries, but continued to battle and in fact scored the final try with 10 minutes remaining and stayed in the fight until the end. Kait Nightingale displayed strong defence, going forward and meeting the Riwaka attack on numerous occasions but often lacking support from teammates. Natania Ngawhao at half back played a good game, scoring a fine try and Michelle Curry showed fine leadership and positive communication also scoring a good try. Signs are positive for games to follow.


Div 2

Just down the road at Motueka Sports Field, Taylors Wanderers Div 2 team had also had a frustratingly narrow loss to Huia, despite enjoying both a healthy territorial and possession advantage in the first half. Being the first game together, they experienced some combination challenges and failed to convert these advantages into points. At the 30-minute mark a half break by Brad Pool, and some very quick passing had released Jack Pool on the left wing for a fine try, but unfortunately that was to be the only scoring for Wanderers. An inability to maintain continuity past 5 phases, and exert pressure on Huia, who continued to make their tackles, contributed to the low scoring. The second half continued in a similar vein to the first except roles were reversed with Huia dominating and eventually Huia were able to score two tries in the final 15 minutes to win 12-5.

Although disappointed with the result, Coach Evan Coote was pleased with many positives from the game, notably the 1 on 1 defence and general commitment of each player and most of the set play. Forward of the Day was awarded to Conrad Malietoa and Back of the Day was Liam Sellars who tackled and distributed well.



The three Wanderers Netball teams all continued their progress on Saturday at Saxton Field courts with Wanderers Gold Senior 5th team starting the day with the 9am game (!!) where after a slow, fumbling start against the Richmond Rat Bags they soon found themselves trailing by 4. Playing an unchanged team for the entire match, combinations soon strengthened, and Gold eventually pulled away for a solid 43-25 win.

Wanderers Blue in Senior 6th had a very close game throughout and were down by 2 in the 3rd quarter but in the last quarter Rivals Sapphires team started to pull ahead with a finishing score of 27-15. The team was having their second game together and worked very well, obviously enjoying the experience.

Wanderers CSC had a challenging game against Marist in Senior 5th and although it was a competitive match Marist proved a little stronger with a 31-19 final scoreline, and next week will see the Gold team play Marist at 1pm on Court 4, while CSC and Blue both play against Waimea teams with CSC on court 4 at 11am and Blue at 2pm.


Next week

Rugby will return to Centennial Park next Saturday with an Under 18 game at 12 noon with Taylors Wanderers hosting Motueka High School in a friendly match, followed by our 3 Bee Women’s team welcoming Moutere at 1.15pm and culminating with Div 1 playing their first home game for the year against Kahurangi at 3pm.

This is planned to be a genuine community event with live sport back in Brightwater and an opportunity to acknowledge all the sterling work and support undertaken by everyone over the past 15 weeks. An invitation is extended to everyone in our region to come and enjoy a full day’s entertainment and experience the thrill of live action in our own neighbourhood.

Come and Support Community Sport