Mon, Sep 25, 2023 2:11 PM
The Marlborough under-16 rugby team will head off to the South Island tournament with morale high and in unbeaten form.
The young Red Devils will go south as the top-ranked side from the Tasman region after completing their build-up matches with an emphatic 25-5 win over Nelson Bays at Lansdowne Park on Saturday.
Both sides came into the match boasting sizeable wins over West Coast and Buller, their clash a tussle for top of the south superiority and top seeding for the South Island event.
Utilising their feisty forward pack, through a series of effective pick-and-goes, Marlborough applied constant pressure to Nelson Bays’ defence, building a 13-0 lead at halftime through an opportunist try to left winger Josh Vularika and two penalties to Josh Flynn.
A close range try to impressive No 8 Rico Nicklin pushed their lead out to 18-0 soon after oranges and, although Nelson replied with their only try soon after, the home side finished strongly, a second try to Nicklin and Flynn conversion sealing the deal.
Now their attention turns to the SI tournament, which will be staged in Ashburton from Friday September 29 to Sunday October 1.
Marlborough’s results: v North Canterbury won 59-27; v Buller won 67-3; v West Coast won 88-0; v Nelson Bays won 25-5.
The Marlborough under-16 squad is: Mason Nicklin, Jordyn Gardiner, Vancouver Sio, Jake Gane; Finn Neal, Tom Robinson; Rico Nicklin; Sione Ofa; Ben Gibbons; Ben Musgrove; Luke Zillwood; Hamish Lindstrom; Ajay Gane; Josh Flynn; Kyan Marcroft; Couper Robinson; Alipate Tahavalu; Anru Erasmus; Josh Vularika; Sam Vularika; Harley Hebberd; Lafai King; Towa Murdoch. Head Coach: Tristan Moran. Co-coaches: Greg Marfell and Leo Marfell. Manager: Laurin Gane.