The final game of the round saw the Bay of Plenty Volcanix hosting the Tasman Makos on a sunny afternoon at Tauranga Domain in what was to be a very hard fought match.
Tasman came into the game off the bye weekend and yet to put any competition points on the board, while the Bay of Plenty were sitting at the top of the Championship table.
From the kickoff both teams showed that they wanted to move the ball through the hands and let their speedy backs have a run around the park. With the first try coming from Volcanix first five Ori Williams who managed an excellent chip kick into space and regathered it to score just left of the posts. The conversion from fullback Crystal Mays was on point and had the home team at a 7-0 advantage after just 12 minutes. The Makos responded just after the restart with a try to blazing outside centre Wairakau Greig from a poor handling skills of the Volcanix. Number 10 and rising star Risi Pouri-Lane couldn’t convert and the scores were 7-5 by the end of the first quarter. With the game progressing quickly, both teams deciding to keep the ball in hand and play it across the field, the Volcanix showed why they are the team to beat in the Championship with two tries to speedy right winger Autumn-Rain Steven-Daly. The fullbacks kicking again was on point and the Volcanix went into the half with a commanding 21-5 lead of the Makos. The Makos, having just joined the FPC this year, are showing they have the depth for talent to come through and shine on the provincial level and even higher.
Back into the game and the Makos got back into it with an exceptional team try of the back of the scrum to No 13 Wairakau Greig, her second of the game. Risi Pouri-Lane was instrumental in getting the final pass away to Greig as she burned up the sideline for the five points. The try was unconverted by Pouri-Lane and the score was 21-10 to the Volcanix after only two minutes play in the second half.After that misstep from the Volcanix they were all over the Makos after that and their first try of the second half coming from birthday girl Luka Connor, her sixth of the season. This is really impressive from the loosehead prop as this now puts her as the top try scorer of the Cup at the end of Round Four. After the first two impressive tries to Makos centre Greig she ended in the sin bin for ten minutes due to an unsafe head high tackle and the next two tries for the Volcanix from left winger Sapphire Tapsell and No 8 Sequioa Anui put the game beyond Tasmans’ reach. With the game all but over Tasman rallied in overtime to score their third try of the game to replacement No 19 Shelley Barry. With no conversion the final score read 38-15 to the Volcanix.
This game showcased how well our womens rugby is coming along and that open running back play can be a fundamental part of the match.
The Tasman Makos can go away from this game proud that they put top of the table Volcanix under pressure several times and came close to scoring on a number of occasions.
The cross over round next week for both teams is going to be daunting. The Volcanix are away to the might Waikato in Hamilton. Both teams are in winning form and both will look to add their competition points haul. The Makos are away also to an exuberant Canterbury side at the formidable AMI Stadium with the game also doubling as a title defence of the new acquired JJ Stewart Trophy.
With the Volcanix now sitting comfortable at the top of the Championship table with 17 points (first equal with Counties Power Heat), it’s now a race on for the other teams in the Championship to see who will get spots two and three come semi-finals time.