Make no mistake, Farriers Wairarapa-Bush will be better tomorrow than what they were in their Heartland Championship opener last weekend.
It wasn’t so much that they lost that frustrated all of those who were at Trust House Memorial Park, but the fact that with only some marginally better handling they would have won. Instead, King Country took the spoils hanging on for what seemed an unlikely 18-16 victory.
Head coach Josh Syms counted 19 dropped passes from the home team plus four missed passes.
Simply put, if Syms’ chargers had hung on to one of those they probably would have won the game.
But they didn’t and head to the “Cake Tin” in Wellington in the knowledge that if they do so again it will be “0 & 2” when they trip south to take on the mighty Mid Canterbury.
“In that scenario we will be fighting for our life which is not a place where we want to be,” Syms says.
And nor do they deserve to be. One of the positives to take out of last weekend was that Wairarapa-Bush showed a willingness to play rugby. The weather conspired against them, so they also need to be prepared to not play rugby when the conditions dictate and just do the hard things first.
That is going to be tough because Wairarapa-Bush doesn’t have a whole lot of guys who can “smash people” all day, so they have got to shift the ball to wide spaces.
“Our profile with Zac (Guildford) and Sam (Monaghan) and the like is to shift the ball, so that’s what we’ve got to do if we want to win,” Syms says. “There is no point painting stripes on yourself pretending you are a Zebra when you are a Leopard.”
All that is not entirely true when looking at the starting XV Syms has named to take on Horowhenua-Kapiti tomorrow. If Zac Guildford is a leopard, then Iziq Foa’i is a rhinoceros. The 120kg 6 foot 3 second five-eighth is a sight to behold when in full flight, and he alone is worth the trip down to the capital.
The other change to the starting XV is in the front row with Richard Puddy starting ahead of Abe Haira at hooker. Puddy was a revelation when he came on midway through the second half against King Country, but expect to see Haira injected into the game at some point.
Tomorrow’s match is the curtain raiser to the Wellington versus North Harbour game, kicking off at 5pm.
MATCH: Farriers Wairarapa-Bush v Horowhenua-Kapiti, 3.05pm Saturday Westpac Stadium Wellington.