INJURY HIT: Prems Under Strengthed and Outclassed

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An under-strength Te Awamutu Sports were outclassed to the tune of 52-7 by table-toppers Hautapu in Waikato premier rugby. Struck hard by injury this week, Sports were forced into major reshuffles.

The visitors competed well in the first half at Cambridge on Saturday but the speed and width of Hautapu’s game took its toll in the second 40. Sports made a horrible start, conceding two early tries to trail 14-0 within 10 minutes.

They soon settled and created some chances, but couldn’t break the stout Hautapu defence. While Hautapu had the ascendancy in the scrums, Sports were more than competitive in tight stuff, the young forward pack taking the game to the hosts. There was no addition to the scoring until the closing stages of the first half when former TA Sports’ pivot Todd Doolan ran in the first of his three tries to give Hautapu a 19-0 lead.

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Hautapu continued to be lethal on the counterattack, scoring three more long range tries in the second half against the tiring Sports’ defence. Sports’ skipper Christian Kelleher then pounced on a loose ball and ran 20 metres to score the visitor’s first try. Replacement first-five Raroa Lord slotted the conversion from wide out for a 45-7 scoreline.

Sports went back on attack, working phases and getting themselves within striking distance, but an unfortunate turnover saw Hautapu go the length of the field again to finish the game in style. For Sports, the score was less than flattering but there were positives to take from the match.

Youngsters Cameron Petch, Josh Reynolds, Malcolm Crooks, Ryan McNeil, Liam Allen, Ice Adams-Hunt, Bailey Oliedam and Raroa Lord all featured during the game, as did veteran Simon Kay who has made a welcome return to the club.

Dion Spice again performed well from halfback and loosies Kelleher and Petch got through a mountain of work in the tight. Next week sees Sports take on University at Albert Park, hoping to kick off a strong