Bryson revels in testing conditions
College Old Boys halfback Karl Bryson might not be in the Turbos' reckoning, but he was prominent in the wet as his team tipped up Varsity on Saturday.
Bryson slid in for one try, could have got another in the second half and made Varsity halfback Aaron Fergus' life a misery in what became a comfortable 20-11 win at FMG Stadium.
Bryson has played 26 games for Manawatu in his two seasons and has the wiles, certainly at club level, to go with his experience.
He is disappointed he seems to be on the outer, but said he would keep tackling his "work-ons" in case there was an injury.
Five minutes before halftime, he caught Fergus clearing from a scrum, wing Nick Harding ran wide as an extra man and eventually Bryson slid over under the crossbar after chasing a centre kick.
"It was difficult with the greasy ball," he said. "I was just trying to put the pressure on.
"We have been talking about taking it game by game, getting our season back on track."
Varsity had pipped COB 29-23 in the Jubilee Cup round. COB, after shutting Varsity out of a competition point on Saturday, still have a chance of finishing top, even with the bye next week.
Referee Dean Bishop sinbinned two of COB's substitutes, Hamish Gosling and Bryce Henderson, late in the game, but COB held out with 13 men, Varsity's sole try coming in the 70th minute.
"He had warned us about hands in the rucks," Bryson said. "We closed the game out quite well."
Overall, it was a game of average kicking, bombed tries, chargedowns and poor handling.
COB's gutsy defence of Varsity's drives on their own goal-line won it and in such wet conditions it was all over after wing Willie Paia'aua took off and sent first-five Otere Black over in the 51st minute as the Varsity tacklers hung off him.
Varsity missed too many tackles all game and didn't give Fergus enough protection.
Varsity had a ton of ball, winning most of COB's lineouts via Tom Hughes and Scott Lewis. But with Jared Brock, Rob Foreman and Kiri Tufuga charging, COB had men like Matt Gardner, Johnny Galloway and Rhys Pedersen to drop them. COB prop Jeremy McKenzie shunted Varsity around in the scrums, especially when Brock went to tighthead after halftime.
Fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder intercepted and sped away but the brakes came on as a week of diarrhoea kicked in and he left the field.
At FMG Stadium: College OB 20 (Karl Bryson, Otere Black tries; Black 2 pen, 2 con) Varsity 11 (Jared Brock try; Nick Birchfield 2 pen). HT: 10-0. FOB-Oroua 15, Linton Army 10
This was a coming-of-age performance by the Stags to score three tries to Linton Army's two and nab only their second win of the season after dousing Te Kawau in the first round.
Conditions might have been horrible but the win lifted the FOB-Oroua club's spirits.
Not that it looked so hot at the start, with Linton up 10-0 after 20 minutes through long-range breakouts and chases downfield. But the Stags came back with a rumble try to busy lock William Butters.
In the second half, they were on top in territory and possession, Linton dropped a lot of ball, did not make right decisions in the wet and the Stags defended resolutely.
They scored their equalising try with 25 minutes to go and, with the rain coming in horizontally, it was all on.
First-five Hamish Watson got the winning try with eight minutes to go. All the tries scored in the corner and none were converted.
Linton tried to run from deep but the young Stags slowed the ball down and held out, led again by Jamie Perigo and Al Howie.
Linton's best were centre Mason Hohepa and second-five Keelan Poi.
At Johnston Park: FOB-Oroua 15 (William Butters, Jamie Perigo, Hamish Watson tries) Linton Army 10 (Keelan Poi, Junior Makapelu tries). HT: 5-10. Feilding 29, Te Kawau 7
In cold, muddy and miserable conditions tailormade for Te Kawau's forwards, they roared into it and matched Feilding for much of the game. That was after Feilding, who had Turbos captain Nick Crosswell in their pack, had scored after two minutes and threatened to race away. And despite the rain hosing down, both sides tried to spin the ball, with Te Kawau's Osea Rokubu making a few breaks.
The smaller Te Kawau forwards held their own until late in the game when Feilding's size took its toll and they scored two more tries to make it five.
There was surprisingly little kicking, although Nathan George kicked intelligently for Feilding from penalties. Flanker Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, halfback Mike Papps and No 8 Hayden Stratford excelled for Yellows, as did prop Matt Avery, hooker Ben Hofmann and a new No 8 from Christchurch, Taylor Lowe.
Te Kawau host a wooden-spoon clash against the Stags next week.
At Rongotea: Feilding 29 (Mo Havea, Crete Cribb, Brad Carr, Ben Wyness, Heiden Bedwell-Curtis tries; Nathan George con, Wyness con) Te Kawau 7 (Jacob Wardle try, con). HT: 12-7.
OB-Marist 21, Freyberg 0
In freezing weather, OBM scored their try on fulltime to silence a Freyberg team whose forwards had thrown everything at OBM but came up with nothing. OBM scored another but it was disallowed because of a foot-trip.
Freys were without No 8 Junior Tunufai, who had broken a finger the previous week, and Turbos back Lewis Marshall (shoulder). They could have used him as they camped on OBM's line for long periods but couldn't get across. Much of the game was played in OBM's 22 but with every Freyberg handling error, OBM kicked the ball through and got most points that way.
OBM were without lock Dan Law (kneecap) but Craig Lyons was back from Spain to play a fine 80 minutes. OBM did have superiority in the backs via midfielders Jason "Slick" Temara and Troy Smith, most telling in the second half, whereas Freys didn't use their backline.
Prop Gene Ropoama was strong for OBM. Freys' best were lock Jeremy Waitoa, colts prop Enesi Setu and No 8 Viliami Fakava.
At Arena Manawatu: OB-Marist 21 (Liam Nichols, Gene Ropoama, Joe Ryan tries; Isaac Winter 2 pen) Freyberg 0. HT: 8-0.
CLUB RUGBY WRAP BEST AND FAIREST COLLEGE
OB v VARSITY 3 Karl Bryson (COB) halfback 2 Kirk Tufuga (Varsity) flanker 1 Rhys Pedersen (COB) lock OB-MARIST v FREYBERG 3 Jason Temara (OBM) centre 2 Jeremy Waitoa (Freyberg) lock 1 Gene Ropoama (OBM) prop TE KAWAU v FEILDING 3 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis (Feilding) flanker 2 Matthew Avery (TK) prop 1 Mike Papps (Feilding) halfback FOB-OROUA v LINTON ARMY 3 William Butters (FOBO) lock 2 Mason Hohepa (Linton) centre 1 Ben Aiken (FOBO) wing POINTS TABLE P W D L F A Pts College OB 15 12 0 3 640 163 59 Varsity 14 11 1 2 483 169 54 Kia Toa 14 9 1 4 502 207 46 OB-Marist 14 9 1 4 402 206 45 Feilding 14 8 0 6 422 284 41 Freyberg 15 7 0 8 284 371 35 Linton Army 14 2 1 11 173 528 13 Te Kawau 14 2 0 12 175 585 10 FOB-Oroua 14 2 0 12 143 706 9 NEXT SATURDAY'S GAMES Kia Toa v OB-Marist, Bill Brown Park; Freyberg v Feilding, Colquhoun Park; Te Kawau v FOB-Oroua, Rongotea; Linton Army v Varsity, Linton Camp.