Pioneers add to Tigers’ woes

Apr 06, 2017


Moerewa Tigers 16 Hokianga Pioneers 46 (ht 8-24)

A disappointing lack of resistance by the Moerewa Tigers, convincingly dismantled on home turf by the Hokianga Pioneers on Saturday afternoon, was of concern as round 2 of the RLN Multikai Cooker Premiership club league competition was completed in blistering late-summer conditions on Saturday afternoon.

There’s no doubt the Tigers – one of the most successful Bay of Islands teams in the province over the past decade – are hurting, missing several of their most promising players from last season who have taken up the 15-man game with Bay champions, Moerewa.

While full credit must be given to the veterans for once again pulling on a jersey on Saturday, even the staunchest Moerewa stalwart would reluctantly admit there were far too many old-timers out there for anyone’s liking; while the number of supporters for what used to be one of the most eagerly anticipated derbies in the mid north could best be described as mediocre. (In reply, observers noted there were “two birthdays on”, as well as a big rugby derby in nearby Kawakawa between UK and Otiria.)

On behalf of a Hokianga unit debuting a flash new kit, coach William McCarthy didn’t want to talk up Hokianga’s comfortable victory too much, because it was still early season and also due to the lack of opposition. “It was nice to beat them, but not like that.” McCarthy noted his side was not in quite the same predicament as Moerewa, having benefited from neighbouring Otaua Valley’s withdrawal from the competition this year, thus picking up that team’s stray players.

Pioneers standouts included Te Wairangoa Tohu at No 13, and prop Elliot Pomare who made some big runs, while also notable were Wally Heremia with two tries, adding to tries by Richie Koroi and Shannon Haare.

Moerewa’s next game against the Otangarei Knights may take place under lights at Hikurangi tomorrow.