Regan Pope and Kingi Kaiwai, co-captains of Tranzit Wairarapa-Bush “B’s”, muscle up during the opening RDO Shield match against Wanganui. Photo: JADE CVETKOV
Tranzit Wairarapa-Bush Development co-coach Chris Osborne is crediting a new culture in the team plus a good working relationship with the Heartland squad for their success this season.
The second tier side, sponsored by Tranzit , last weekend won the RDO Shield with a convincing win over Horowhenua-Kapiti.
It meant Wairarapa went through the five team competition unbeaten having broken fancied Wanganui’s three-year long stranglehold on the silverware.
“Absolutely over the moon” about their success, Osborne says it is the culmination of a lot of hard work by a number of people.
But he makes particular mention of the fringe Farrier’s Wairararapa-Bush Heartland players who, despite their initial disappointment of missing out on the premier side, continued to set a high standard for the rest of the squad.
“They were awesome and it really helped build the culture within the squad,” he says
Osborne says he was fortunate enough to join the wider Heartland squad that went into camp in Taranaki. It meant that he and the players who ultimately missed out were all “on the same page”.
“It’s the first time that I have been involved that they have done that. So when the fringe Heartland guys came down to us we were running the same systems, and speaking the same language. Because of that they kept playing at that higher level and everyone benefited from it,” Osborne says.
Players in this group were, Lachie McFadzean,Daryl Pickering, Nick Olson, Epeli Rayaqayaqa, Blake Knight, Mana Ngaau and Viake Potoru.
Osborne says a lot of credit has to go to the Heartland coach, Josh Syms, for keeping the fringe players enthused and working them hard.
“Those guys have been playing some good rugby so if they get called up, and I hope some of them will, they’ll be ready to make the step up.”
Osborne also had high praise for his co-captains Kingi Kaiwai and Regan Pope, Tipi Haira, and the team’s top scorer, centre Nikora Ewe.
“To be honest it was a real team effort throughout the whole campaign, all 28-players in the squad contributed.”
Wairarapa made the perfect start to the competition when they upset Wanganui 29-15. Having put 100-points on Horowhenua-Kapiti the week before Wanganui came to Masterton with high hopes, but within less than five minutes found themselves two tries down.
To Wanganui’s credit they fought their way back into the match but Wairarapa sealed it, plus a bonus point, with a try right on full-time.
They dropped their guard a little in the second round drawing 22-all with Wellington Centurions, before beating Wellington Maori Development 37-19 and rounding off an unbeaten campaign downing Horowhenua-Kapiti 45-15 last weekend.
Osborne shared the coaching duties with Graeme Cheetham