WOB and Wanderers off to a winning start


It’s often hard to read too much into the first rugby game of the season, but it appears that Waimea Old Boys and Wanderers could be the teams to beat again this year.
Both of last year’s finalists opened their account with wins on Saturday, edging other fancied sides. Star & Garter Waimea, who last year won the title, beat Tasman Trophy holders Galbraith Group Nelson 34-26 at Neale Park. While Taylor’s Contracting Wanderers held on with 14 men to beat the returning Wakatu Marist 23-18 at the Brightwater Domain.
The success Waimea had last year might be its downfall this year, with star trio James Lowe, Marty Banks and Billy Guyton all selected into Super Rugby squads, which means their availibility will be minimal at best. But some strong recruitment, including a handful of Waimea College first XV players, most notably their captain Tim Coman, and a former Waratahs B flanker Pete Samu should complement the winning core from last year.
Wanderers, who are three years into their three year plan since coming back into the top tier of club rugby, have added Fletcher Matthews from Waimea College, and have the bulk of their young squad that finished in second place last year. They showed plenty of aggression on Saturday, but at times that went overboard with flanker Loa Windley red-carded for a horror tackle.
Both teams will target wins again this weekend with Waimea facing Kahurangi in Riwaka and Wanderers hosting Stoke at Brightwater.