Sat, Apr 20, 2024 10:06 PM

Blues well beaten in Nelson


Peter Jones

Central’s unbeaten start to the 2024 Tasman Trophy rugby season came to an abrupt halt at Nelson’s Jubilee Park today.

The Blues, who opened their campaign with three narrow wins, were beaten 34-5 by a rampant Waimea Old Boys side.

The home side scored twice in the first two minutes of the game and held the Blues scoreless until late in the match when they bagged a consolation try.

While Central were missing some key players, including hooker Quentin MacDonald who is out for at least a month with a foot injury, no one expected such a dominant display from WOB.

In almost every aspect of the game, Central found themselves behind. Most notably, they were often pushed off the ball or penalised at scrum time and fell behind in the kicking contest. Central missed touch from several penalties, while WOB first five-eighth Sam Briggs consistently gained metres when the two teams decided to play force-back.

WOB vice-captain Kaide Whiting says the result wasn’t as surprising to them as it was for their fans on the sidelines.

“In our heads, we know what we’re capable of, and today we clicked it together.

“Our focus for the week was effort and intent and those boys that scored those early tries, they were purely effort tries.”

“Central are a strong team and the strongest in the last couple of years. It’s a good building platform for us...”

MacDonald said the Blues’ set piece issues were a concern.

“They tore into our scrum, it’s a good learning experience. We were playing catch-up the whole game.”

He says there were no excuses from the team this week, despite having some injuries that saw him and other key players miss the game.

“Our forwards did some good things and we were led well by Matty McCormick, I think he played one of his best games I’ve seen.”

In other results, Stoke fell just short after a late resurgence against Kahurangi, losing 24-27, and Marist piled on 72 points to 20 against Nelson.

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