Resurgent Marist face big test against Wanderers
A resurgent Marist team could provide Wanderers with one of their biggest defensive tests this season when they meet in tomorrow's second round of the Bayleys Tasman Trophy interprovincial club rugby series.
Both teams scored comfortable bonus-point wins in last weekend's opening round to share the early lead in pool B.
Wakatu Hotel Marist's 57-12 away win over Renwick was only their second victory of the season after a disappointing Moller Cup round. But they've now scored 14 tries in their last two outings as some indication of the potential attacking threat they could pose tomorrow at Brightwater.
Taylor's Contracting Wanderers have consistently proven themselves defensively this season and will need to bar up again against a Marist side boasting Nelson Bays' leading point- and try-scorer. Utility back Kieron Fonotia has now scored 76 points, one more than Wanderers' halfback Jackson Harvey, while fullback Latham Jones has confirmed his ability by scoring eight tries in seven games.
The match kicks off at 3pm.
There are only two interprovincial clashes tomorrow. Enza Riwaka host Renwick at Cooks Reserve in their pool B clash and Star and Garter Waimea Old Boys head to Picton to take on Waitohi in pool A following Waimea's first-round bye.
Waitohi were the only Marlborough team to record a win last weekend, beating an under-strength Accessman Stoke 21-10 at home.
A strengthened Waimea pack and a more settled backline, with the return of centre James Lowe, will threaten Waitohi's perceived home-ground advantage, despite Waimea having only scored one win this season. The match kicks off at 2.30pm.
Riwaka secured a notable win over top-seeded Marlborough side Harlequins in Blenheim last Saturday and should be anticipating another positive return against a Renwick team that conceded 57 points and nine tries to Marist. Kick-off is at 3pm.
A makeshift Stoke outfit struggled in Picton and will relish their return home to face New World Huia in pool A at Greenmeadows, starting at 3pm.
Huia scored six tries in their narrow 40-36 win over Moutere but conceded as many at the other end of the park. Stoke's consistent lack of numbers are a concern, although the return of Jarrod Aberhart to join Tevita Koloamatangi among the loose forwards is significant.
The remaining two all-Marlborough clashes see Central playing Moutere at Blenheim's Lansdowne Park in pool A and Awatere hosting Harlequins at the Seddon Domain in pool B.
Points: Kieron Fonotia (Marist) 76, Jackson Harvey (Wanderers) 75, Jake Beleski (Stoke) 52, Tony Fatai (Riwaka) 50.
Tries: Latham Jones (Marist) 8, Mitchell Scott (Nelson) 6, Robbie Malneek (Nelson) 6, Kieron Fonotia (Marist) 5, Tema Faifua (Huia) 5, Lucuster Mati (Riwaka) 5.
Nelson College are bracing themselves for another formidable challenge when they face Waimea College in tomorrow's third round of the Press Cup secondary schools competition in Richmond.
Based on each team's perennial form, most punters tend to follow the usual line of thinking by predicting a Nelson College victory. But neither Nelson nor Waimea see it that way, and irrespective of how either team might be tracking at any stage of the season, this is one contest that always brings their traditional rivalry squarely into focus.
It was four seasons ago that Waimea secured a 14-13 upset win in Richmond, with Nelson last year requiring a converted try to captain Mitchell Drummond just two minutes from time to seal a desperate 20-16 win. And there's added motivation for Waimea tomorrow, with centre Sean Clementson playing his 50th match for the college.
Logic suggests Nelson will start favourites following big wins over both Burnside High School (41-0) and Nayland College (94-3), while Waimea have lost to Christchurch BHS (55-13) and Christ's College (10-5).
But Waimea's tougher lead-in should arguably have them well primed for tomorrow's contest, which kicks off at 1.30pm.
There's no respite for Nayland College however, who are at home to take on Christchurch BHS at noon. Nayland have already suffered heavy losses to Christ's and Nelson, with Christchurch already tipped as one of this year's title favourites.
The Nelson Mail