Premiers open the season with big win over Norths

Our Premiers made a statement in their Swindale Shield opener against Norths, dismantling the reigning Jubilee Cup champions on their home turf by 28-5.

The Red Machine made their intentions clear from the opening whistle, scoring an outstanding team try - finished by James Proctor - in the opening five minutes to take a lead they would never relinquish. Video of that try can be viewed on Facebook.

The conditions were atrocious, playing into a driving southerly in the first half their kicking options were limited. The side knuckled down and showed good handling skills and strong running plays to spend most of the half in opposition territory. But it was the defence that won the game. Norths were met with a 'red wall' every time they attacked and very few tackles were missed.

Hurricanes halfback Jonathan Taumateine marshaled the troops expertly and was rewarded with MSP's second try of the first half at the 32 minute mark. We took a 12-5 lead into the break.

Turning with the wind at their backs, kicking options opened up but the side kept to their strengths of running the ball and strong phase play. After extending the lead with a penalty two minutes into the second half, they kept the pressure on.

Despite losing Charlie Gubb to the sinbin, when Norths fumbled in their own 22, our backs pounced and James Proctor scored his second try of the game and extended the lead to 20-5.

From there it was a matter of playing strong percentage rugby and wearing the home team down. On the stroke of full time, Norths left the ball unprotected at the back of the ruck deep in their own 22; winger Willie Schutz pounced on the opportunity and scrambed over the line to secure a well deserved bonus point.

It was hard to single out individuals as the team performed so well as a unit; but it was very encouraging to see youngsters like Tyrone Thompson, Tom Martin and Aidan Morgan turn in performances that made them look like veterans.

Earlier in the day our Premier Women had a tough loss to perennial contenders Oriental Rongotai and our Premier Reserves had their win streak broken against Norths.

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