Chiefs Manawa No 8 Kennedy Simon dives over for a strive in opposition to Matatū within the Tremendous Rugby Aupiki opener in Hamilton on Thursday evening.
Chiefs Manawa have taken a large step in direction of successful the maiden Tremendous Rugby Aupiki competitors.
That’s the truth after their tense 17-15 win in opposition to Matatū within the first match of the compact competitors in Hamilton on Thursday evening, after they wanted a last-ditch conversion try and miss to get residence in regulation.
Matatū prop Amy Rule had scored out huge a second earlier, however Australian pivot Arabella McKenzie pushed her conversion try wide-right.
Taking part in with out halfback and wonderful purpose kicker Kendra Cocksedge, it can sting the South Islanders, who didn’t land any of their 4 kicks off the tee, and dominated the second half of the match.
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Matatū coach Blair Baxter certain will rue his aspect’s incapability to money of their dominance till Rule’s late strike.
They need to have scored a number of instances, together with within the 54th minute, when hooker Georgia Ponsonby appeared sure to the touch down on the again of a formidable lineout drive, solely to lose the ball over the road.
Matatū captain Alana Bremner argued the maul had been dragged down illegally, however her protest fell on deaf ears.
The long-awaited Tremendous Rugby Aupiki kickoff got here with a couple of participant welfare enforced adjustments, given Covid-19 compelled the competitors to be crimped right into a 10-day window.
That included 35-minute halves, 25-strong match-day groups, and rolling substitutions.
The Chiefs bolted out of the gates, working it from anyplace and in all places, a good sufficient tactic with weapons comparable to Portia Woodman and Ruby Tui at their disposal.
Bear in mind the identify Angel Mulu. In spite of everything, the Chiefs’ prop bagged the primary strive in competitors historical past, when she flopped over the road within the seventh minute on the again of their quick begin.
The massive second
Chiefs Manawa fullback Hazel Tubic couldn’t have requested for a greater bounce when she uncorked what seemed to be an innocuous kick late within the first half.
However when it discovered grass simply contained in the opposition half, it took a pig of a bounce, evaded a few Matatū gamers, and sat up completely for her to run on to.
She offloaded to Victoria Edmonds, who discovered 2021 Black Ferns participant of the yr Kennedy Simon to complete the motion, giving the hosts an important 17-10 lead at halftime.
7/10. So far as competitors openers go, you most likely couldn’t ask for an excessive amount of extra.
Positive, coaches Allan Bunting and Baxter would have been disillusioned with the variety of unforced errors, however six tries, loads of attacking intent, and a few stout defence made for an entertaining match.
The thunderous hit Matatū wing Martha Mataele placed on Chiefs midfielder Carla Hohepa within the first half of the match additionally warrants a point out.
The massive image
Already favourites heading into the compact competitors, Chiefs Manawa are actually white-hot favourites to be topped the inaugural Tremendous Rugby Aupiki champions.
That’s the truth when there isn’t any last, and the Blues and Hurricanes Poua have been compelled to separate competitors factors, after the latter was compelled to withdraw from their first recreation on account of a Covid-19 outbreak of their camp.
It leaves Chiefs Manawa within the field seat with video games in opposition to the Poua (Tuesday) and Blues (Sunday week).
Matatū face the Blues on Tuesday and the Hurricanes Sunday week. All video games are at FMG Stadium Waikato.
There have been questions concerning Matatū’s midfield after Grace Brooker busted her knee enjoying for the Black Ferns final yr, however Liv McGoverne certain answered them.
A strong No 12 with misleading pace, it was certainly one of a bunch of McGoverne’s offloads which resulted in wing Grace Steinmetz scoring a peach of a primary half strive.
Chiefs Manawa 17 (Angel Mulu strive 7min, Ruby Tui strive 21min, Kennedy Simon strive 31min; Kelly Brazier con) Matatū 15 (Pip Love strive 17min, Grace Steinmetz strive 27min, Amy Rule strive 73min). HT: 17-10