Sideline support from Mum for Rams' Hiko

JAMIE SEARLE
Last updated 05:00 22/08/2014
Tuki Hiko
NICOLE JOHNSTONE
GAME ON: Rams rugby league player Tuki Hiko.

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Tuki Hiko finds support from his mother at rugby league games a bit awkward at times.

Jo Hiko is regularly on the sideline keeping an eye on her son.

"I hear her yelling . . . ‘go boy, go boy', it puts me off and I tell her to wait in the van," Hiko said light-heartedly.

Twenty-year-old Hiko is in his third season with the Southland Rams and earlier in the winter played for Cowboys in the province's club competition.

Winton Warlords coach Andrew Osborn started Hiko off in league five years ago. His weekends are busy during the winter with him playing division two rugby (for Pirates-Old Boys) on a Saturday and league on a Sunday.

"The hits [in league] are a lot bigger than in rugby."

A memorable win for Hiko was when he and his teammates in the Rams beat Otago at the $223 million Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin last year

Meanwhile, the Rams travel to Greymouth today to play the West Coast Chargers tomorrow.

Rams coach Greg Dawson was pleased with the team's 44-6 win over the Otago Whalers last Saturday, but expects a harder game against the Chargers.

"Playing the [West] Coast at home will be very tough. Our focus is to rise to another level and beat them," Dawson said yesterday. "We've got to make sure out defence is tight."

Financial support from Road Safety Southland has helped cover the Rams' transport costs for the trip - planes and vans.

"I remember the days we'd drive all day [to away games], you'd be knackered by the time you got there," Dawson.

The West Coast Chargers were at virtually full strength for tomorrow's game, coach Dean McGrath said.

In last Saturday's first round of the South Island premier league competition the Chargers lost to the Tasman Titans 46-36 and were behind 26-8 at half time.

"We had a bad start, we were down 14 nil after 10 minutes," McGrath said.

Handling errors counted against the Chargers.

"We made them in the red zone and were punished."

Centre Regan Stanton and stand off Nick Davie are key players for the Chargers.

Coach McGrath said the West Coast club competition struggled for players this year. Work commitments made it difficult for some to get to training and games.

Most played rugby on Saturdays and league on Sundays.

"A few would turn up [on Sunday] injured or hung over," McGrath said.

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- The Southland Times

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