Sticking to solid plan pays off for Tokanui

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Tokanui Rugby Club coach Roger Buckingham credits a good defensive effort for his team’s success against Pioneer at the weekend.

The green and blacks won the Southland-wide division one game 28 to 17 in Gore on Saturday.

The game plan was to shut down the Pioneer backline, Buckingham said.

“Once they get going their backs go pretty well.

“We were trying to … slow them down and keep a bit of defensive pressure on them and stop them from getting going.”

When his players did this, they dominated the game.

“The defence again won us the game; kept us in the game for a start off, and then we managed to get our act together a wee bit in the second half.”

The score was 13-12 at halftime.

Tokanui’s score should have been higher, Buckingham said.

“We bombed a lot of tries in that first 40 minutes especially.”

Props Eamon Deans and Ziahn Hewer played well.

“They were up against some fairly good props and held their own.

“They got around the paddock pretty well, and even at the end they were still running, passing the ball.”

Halfback Sam Taylor also had a good game.

“He’s only a young fella but he’s making every post a winner when he gets a chance, as they say.”

Pioneer coach Jason Smith said he had thought his team was in with a chance.

“We were going reasonably well,” Smith said.

“We defended quite well and set up a couple of good attacking moves and scored off them.”

However, a couple of mistakes at crucial times and departing from the game plan allowed Tokanui to gain control of the game.

“We ended up running back into the heavy traffic and making it hard for ourselves.

“If we had’ve gone wide .. and kicked for the corners we would have had them.

“We got suckered into their game plan.”

The lineout went well.

“We’re competing, we’re winning our own ball and challenging their ball.”

No 7 Callum Carter “did a power of work” and No 6 Ben Hill “played very strong and hard for the day”.

Winger Nico Burns, in his first game of rugby, also played well.