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Grand comeback for traditional match

Glen Walters makes a return to Wairarapa-Bush rugby today after playing in Guernsey. PHOTO/FILE
Glen Walters makes a return to Wairarapa-Bush rugby today after playing in Guernsey. PHOTO/FILE

WAIRARAPA-BUSH Rugby’s traditional Queen’s Birthday fixture will be revived today after a 13-year hiatus.

For local rugby fans today’s match against Hawke’s Bay Saracens will be the first chance to see Farriers Wairarapa-Bush in action this season.

The team come into the match having shown some encouraging signs in two 40-minute games against Wellington and Horowhenua-Kapiti last Tuesday night.

Wairarapa-Bush lost those games 19-0 and 7-0, respectively, however, coach Josh Syms was impressed with the performances individually and collectively.

He is keen to see further progress and has named “close to the best side, based on club form”. The one exception is utility back Glen Walters, who has returned to the region after playing rugby on the Channel Island, Guernsey, and has yet to line up for his Greytown club. He will start today’s match at fullback, but it would be no surprise if he also spent time at first-five.

Former Mid-Canterbury representative Andrew Smith gets another chance to impress and will likely start the match at lock with Gladstone teammate Andrew McLean. Former Manawatu loose forward Sam Gammie gets the nod at No8, while the live wire Inia Katia gets the start in the hotly contested halfback position.

Syms has named a squad of 28, and expects to give all players ample playing time.

The match kicks off at Memorial Park at the earlier time of 1pm today.

Farriers Wairarapa-Bush:

Glen Walters, Cameron Hayton, Robbie Anderson, Andy Humberstone, Peni Rokoduguni, Time Priest, Inia Katia, Sam Gammie, James Goodger, Liam Devine, Andrew Smith, Andrew McLean, Jacko Hull, Richard Puddy, Vaike Potoru.

Substitutes: Henry Wilson, Jono Hartnell, Buddah Mason, Lachie McFadzean, Eddie Cranston, Brendon Campbell, Jontie Miller, Daryl Pickering, Mana Ngaau, Jimmy Boyle, Nick Olson, Stacey Aporo, Leo Eneliko

Hawke’s Bay Saracens:

Star Timu, David Benson, Matt Garland, Neria Fomai, Ethan Prichard, Tianua Poto, Zac Donaldson, Joseph Penitito, Ben Hamelink, Matt Gardiner, Trent Boswell-Wakefield, Sanaila Waqa, Tolu Fahamokioa, Jorian Tangaere, Jason Long. Substitutes: Logan Ede, Mark Braidwood, Jarvy Aoake, Tamatoa Higgins, Ben Parsons, Hannon Brighouse, George McPherson, Lucas Goodin.WAIRARAPA-BUSH Rugby’s traditional Queen’s Birthday fixture will be revived today after a 13-year hiatus.

By Chris Cogdale editorial@age.co.nz – Wairarapa Times-Age

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