The Wairau Taniwha team made a less than memorable start to the new Tasman Rugby League club season with a 4-52 loss to the Victory Phoenix Vikings on Saturday in Nelson.
There was plenty of interest in how the Vikings would fare after their tough introduction to last season's competition but they showed they had recruited well during the off-season.
With three former Wairau Taniwha players in the Victory lineup, it was expected to be an intense encounter. Any thoughts of Victory suffering from a lack of combinations were dismissed as they stormed to a 24-0 halftime lead.
As the second half wore on, so did the confidence of the Victory players, one notable try scored by Victory halfback Jens Ruappout when he beat a couple of players, chipped past the fullback, regathered and finished off a brilliant solo effort.
The Wairau Taniwha's lack of numbers ultimately proved decisive, although they'll be looking forward to hosting the Stoke Cobras in Blenheim this weekend.
The Cobras began their campaign with a 50-16 win over the Wanderers Wolves at Tahunanui. Stoke started well and jumped to an early and ultimately decisive lead as they took a 24-6 advantage into halftime. Stoke added two quick tries after the break.
Defending premiers the Richmond Rabbits overcame a strong challenge from the Tahunanui Tigers to win 28-16.
- The Marlborough Express