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Game highlights: Wellington Centurions (19) v Manawatu High Performance (12)


The two high performance squads met at Massey University on Wednesday night.

Heavy dew and slippery conditions underfoot was the dominant theme of the match.

Players’ priorities on many occasions was retaining hold of the ball and minimising mistakes. This was evident in Manawatu missing out on at least two (perhaps three) tries over the line in a 10-minute period in the first half through knock-ons and Wellington at least one later on.

Wellington’s backs did well to create their score two tries to one, 12-7 halftime lead, through tries to Johnsonville wing Jacob Kennedy and OBU centre Eijah Maene Lokeni and one to former Ories and now Kia Toa wing Pena Va’a.

Manawatu scored their second try later in the second half to make it 12-12, before Wellington burgled victory at the end when they took a tap from a penalty on halfway and OBU lock Boston Hunt advanced into space and found Petone loose forward Connor Tuifao in support for the try and the 19-12 win.

For Wellington, Hunt and Tawa duo Akira Ieremia (captain) and Matolu Petaia, together with hookers, HOBM’s Harry Press (first half) and OBU’s Louie Calvert (second) were part of a well functioning lineout. In the first half, OBU halves Kyle Preston and Callum Harkin added spark and helped gain territory. Ories openside Sione Halalilo and later Petone’s Tuifao enjoyed their battle with the Manawatu loosies, led by NZ Universities captain Julian Goerke at blindside and Kia Toa No. 8 Iakopo Mapu who made several strong carries. Norths tighthead Bradley Crichton played the full match and matched up against former Poneke loosehead prop George Jacobs.

Manawatu’s defence was organised and strong all match, their backline led by Feilding centre Kyle Brown. Halfback and club teammate Griffin Culver was also a livewire.

The match was non-first class status, and both teams carried extended squads and used all their players.

There was a healthy crowd of a few hundred on hand on what was a cold winter’s evening in Palmerston North.

Try scoring highlights and some other bits and pieces highlights from the match are below:

The teams were:


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