FOB-Oroua upset Varsity in the opening round of Manawatu club rugby
Feilding Old Boys-Oroua stunned defending champions Varsity 13-12 in the first round of Manawatu club rugbu on Saturday.
After falling to easy-beat status in 2016 and suffering from an offseason exodus, knocking off the a strong looking Varsity side, their first win over the club since 2011, was the best possible start for new coach Glen Gregory.
The thrilling end of the match could have come straight from a Hollywood script.
With three minutes left to play, FOB-Oroua second five-eighth Paora Rakatau giving the Stags a one-point lead.
But the drama would not end there.
In the dying seconds of the match FOB-O had the ball deep inside their 22.
Halfback Tom Stewart's clearing kick was charged down and it bounced back to FOB-Oroua only for Rakatau's kick to be charged down as well.
Varsity midfielder Nick Birchfield scooped the ball up and dotted down. The try was awarded until it was pointed out the touch judge had his flag in the air, leaving FOB-Oroua the deserving winners.
Right from the start it was a scrappy and messy match.
FOB-Oroua missed a lot of early chances as the likes of Doug Juszcyzk, Nick Grogan and Sam Malcolm tackled their hearts out for Varsity.
The sole try of the first half came from former FOB-Oroua and now Varsity flanker Nathan Tweedy, which was enough to give Varsity a 5-3 lead at the break.
Grogan added Varsity's second early in the second half and there was a feel that the defending champions would go on to run away with the match.
But that was not the case as FOB-Oroua continued to lift.
Lock Will Butters scored to make the match close, before a late yellow card to Tweedy set up the exciting finish.
It was a strong performance for most of the FOB-Oroua side with Rakatau standing out along with hooker Max Fryatt, wing Jeremiah Tuimana-Fryer and fullback Jamie Perigo.
FOB Oroua 13 (Paora Rakatau, Will Butters tries; Rakatau pen) Varsity 12 (Nathan Tweedy, Nick Grogan tries; Sam Malcolm con) HT: 5 - 3 Varsity. At Massey.
Kia Toa blew out College Old Boys late in an early season statement win 46-24.
In a typically messy first match of the season featuring plenty of spilt ball, neither side was at their best.
And that is an ominous sign for the rest of the competition with Kia Toa still turning on moments of magic to rack up seven tries.
The match opened up when COB fullback Tyler Rodgers-Holden was sent to the sin bin for what was deemed to be a dangerous tackle early in the first half.
A couple of minutes later, Tudreu made an early bid for try of the season.
The Kia Toa wing took a quick tap 25m out from his own tryline, broke through a hole in the defence before a perfectly weighted chip kick sat up for him and he sprinted away for the try.
Another five-pointer to wing Daniel Mongahan pushed them further ahead, but a flurry of attacking activity late in the half suggested COB could battle their way back into the match.
COB second five-eighth Curtis Reids came out firing in the second 40 minutes with a couple of strong carries.
But it was Kia Toa running away with the game with Monaghan picking up his second and midfielder Vilikesa Raboiliku crossing from close.
COB responded with three late tries, but they could not keep pace with Kia Toa's outside backs.
Kia Toa first five-eighth Joey Te Huna had a strong match, as did lock Fraser Stone and halfback Atu Henare.
COB's best were Reid, Bryson and Brice Henderson.
The game ended with golden oldies scrums after Kia Toa was caught short of props on the bench. It was a repeat of the situation that caused much frustration for COB in the semifinals last year.
Kia Toa 46 (Nathan Tudreu 3, Daniel Monaghan 2, Vilikesa Raboiliku 2 tries; Joey Te Huna 2 con, 1 pen, Jordan Bunce 2 con) College Old Boys 28 (Bryce Grant, Cory Waho, Tyler Rogers Holden tries; Karl Bryson 2 con, 3 pen) HT 15-9. At Arena.
Old Boys-Marist took care of business with a comprehensive 63-6 win over Linton Army.
The under-strength Linton fought hard early in the match as OBM pushed hard to attack out wide.
But they did not take control in tight, which helped Linton shut them down.
OBM were also missing plenty of front-line starters, but their depth meant the team was still strong on paper and included prop Fraser Armstrong and flanker Antonio Kiri Kiri on the bench after they spent the week training with the Hurricanes.
Regular prop Tuki Raimona started the game at hooker and impressed with his lineout throwing.
It was a different story on the Linton side of the ball. While their lack of props suggested they would struggle at scrum time, their lineouts were worst.
Gifting possession to OBM is always dangerous and Linton were punished accordingly.
OBM gained dominance across the field and piled on the points for the big win, including assistant coach Jason Temara cashing in with a try in his 100th match for the club.
Linton's best were flanker Angus White, first five-eighth Keelan Poi and hooker Josh Devine.
OBM's standouts were lock Zane Burn, No 8 Benedict Grant and halfback Hamuera Baker.
Old Boys-Marist 63 (Tuki Raimona, Benedict Grant, Kameli Kuruyabaki, Jared Deal, Matthew Gattsche, Jason Temara, Hamuera Baker, Ashley Busher tries; Bain Champion 4 con, 3 pen, Matt Maoate 2 con, Temara 1 con) Linton Army 6 (Keelan Poi 2 pen) HT: 21-6 OBM. At Arena.
Feilding got their season underway on a positive note with a 25-18 win over Te Kawau.
It was a scrappy performance from Te Kawau who were guilty of giving away too much possession and making silly mistakes.
Yellows made the most of their chances and looked more composed with the ball in hand.
They also controlled the line outs.
The match was locked at 3-3 at the break, but Feilding went on a scoring run early in second half to effectively secure the match.
Te Kawau battled back well, led by centre Jordan Henare and a solid showing from young first five-eighth James Holland, but could not string together enough phases to build pressure.
Centre Matt Dalley, prop Timo Bristow and No 8 Jesse McKail all had strong matches for Feilding.
Feilding 25 (Matt Dalley 2, Brad Carr tries, Ben Wyness 2 pen, 2 con) Te Kawau 18 (Tom Parsons, Scott Wheeler tries; James Holland 1 con, Temm Kauri 2 pen) HT: 3-3. At Johnston Park.
BEST AND FAIREST
FOB-OROUA v VARSITY
3 Paora Rakatau (FOB-O) 2nd 5
2 Sam Malcolm (Varsity) 1st 5
1 Max Fryatt (FOB-O) hooker
COLLEGE OB v KIA TOA
3 Nathan Tudreu (Kia Toa) wing
2 Karl Bryson (COB) halfback
1 Atu Henare (Kia Toa) halfback
OB-MARIST v LINTON
3 Hameura Baker (OBM) halfback
2 Angus White (Linton) flanker
1 Benedict Grant (OBM) No 8
FEILDING v TE KAWAU
3 Timo Bristow (Feilding) prop
2 Jordan Henare (Te Kawau) centre
1 Matt Dalley (Feilding) centre
Points: OBM 5, Kia Toa 5, Feilding 4, FOB-O 4, Varsity 1, Te Kawau 1, Freyberg 0, COB 0, Linton 0
Round 2 (all matches 2.45pm kickoff): COB v Varsity at Arena 3; FOB-Oroua v Feilding at Johnston 1; Linton v Freyberg at Linton 1; Te Kawau v OBM at Rongotea 1; Kia Toa bye).