New South Wales Cup Round # 16
The Vulcans fought bravely against the Newtown Jets on Saturday, and although they were in front 22-16 at the break, it was the Jets who came out on top with two tries in the final 12 minutes to win the game 36-26.
The opening 20 minutes was a tremendous battle as both teams fought for field position and opportunities to score, but it was the Jets’ hooker Sean Rudder who scooted over from dummy half in the 7th minute. Chris Tuatara added the extra 2 points 20m in from touch.
In the 16th minute the Vulcans caught the Jets in goal and from the goal line drop Ukuma Taai scored wide out. Aaron Heremaia converted and the scores were locked up.
Three sets later a Heremaia 40/20 gave the Vulcans a scrum on the Jets 10m line and Pita Godinet’s show & go left the Jets sprawling as he dotted down between the posts. Heremaia added the extra 2 points and the Vulcans lead 12-6.
The Vulcans knocked the ball on from the kick off and in the set that followed the Jets scored in the corner through Tuu Moari. Tuatara failed to convert and after 28 minutes the Vulcans still held a slender 12-10 lead.
A penalty to the Jets late in the tackle count from the kick off, followed by two damaging runs by Sia Soliola created an opening out wide and Sonny Tuigamala scored in the corner. A great side line conversion by Tuatara put the jets into the lead 16-12 with 31 minutes gone in the first half.
In their next set the Vulcans made good ground through Ian Hayes and then debutante centre Glen Fisiiasi showed a great turn of speed when he received the ball 35m out from the Vulcans line. Fisiiasi accelerated past the defence and was eventually tackled on the Jets 20m line. The Vulcans 5th tackle kick, blocked by the Jets, was picked up by Taai, who passed wide to Sione Tongia who jinked and crashed over midway side line & goal posts. Heremaia was unable to convert and the scores were locked up once again at 16-16.
With a minute to go in first half the Jets played the ball on their own 40m mark and when the second pass bobbled off Jimmy Anderson, Fisiiasi swooped and with blistering speed raced away from the cover defence to score wide out. Heremaia converted to make the half time score 22-16 in favour of the Vulcans.
Three minutes into the second half and the Jets scored when Tuatara waltzed through a gap out wide to score. Tuatara converted his own try to lock the scores up once again 22 all.
After 2 consecutive penalties the Vulcans were well inside the jets half when a bad pass was picked up by the Jets. Suddenly the Vulcans were on the back foot and after a jinking run from dummy half by replacement hooker, Tavite Vateuvei, it was Anderson who finished off the move scoring out wide. Tuatara missed the conversion and the Jets hit the lead 26-22.
Five minutes later, in the 15th minute, the Vulcans ran the ball wide from their own 20m mark. Fisiiasi got the ball on the right side of the field beat 2 defenders, swerved and beat 2 more, then out paced the cover defence to score wide out on the left hand side of the field. Heremaia was unsuccessful with the conversion and the scores were tied once again at 22 all.
Both teams had chances in the next 10-15 minutes; handling errors or bad options preventing tries or opportunities to score.
Then in the 20th minute Fisiiasi recovered a Heremaia chip kick and was hit hard in a tackle that laid him out. As a result he could not continue and he was replaced in the centres by second rower, Daniel McGregor.
In the 28th minute Pat Rosser from the Jets showed strength to score between the posts. Tuatara converted to give the Jets a 32-26 lead.
The battle for supremacy resumed with both sides bombing opportunities. Then in the 35th minute the Vulcans kicked the ball from a scrum win on their on 40m mark and with no fullback at home it was a race for the ball. Denan Kemp gave the Vulcans a real chance of scoring when he endeavoured to recover the ball just 10 metres out from the try line, but an awkward bounce enabled the Jets’ Tuigamala to eventually snuff out his chances.
With just four minutes to go the Jets fullback Iwi Hauraki should have scored after a brilliant solo effort when he caught a Vulcans bomb on his own 20m mark. But somehow the cover defensive effort from Heremaia and Kemp was able to stop the movement 5m from the try line.
Unfortunately the Vulcans’ handling let them down again and in the set after a scrum Tuigamala scored his second try for the Jets. Tuatara was unable to convert from the side line and the Jets led 36-26.
The Vulcans re-gathered the ball from the kick off and strong runs from Tongia, Taai and Herman Retzlaff took them to within 5m of the line, but despite desperate ball movement as the hooter sounded, the Vulcans were unable to penetrate the Jets defence.
Overall it was a great effort from the Vulcans when you consider the team was not finalized until 10.30am on Friday, only hours before the team’s flight to Sydney, and that three players made their debut. Fisiiasi (Otahuhu) at centre was brilliant, while Taavili Leaunoa (Marist) on the wing and Daniel Palavi (Richmond) 2nd row did not look out of place.
Auckland Vulcans: 26 (Fisiiasi 2, Godinet, Taai, Tongia, tries; Heremaia 3 goals)
Newtown Jets: 36 (Tuigamala 2, Anderson, Maori, Rosser, Rudder, Tuatara, tries;
Tuatara 4 goals)
Half time: 22-16 Vulcans