Above: Wainuiomata celebrating their first round win over Old Boys University at Nairnville Park. Header: Teru Time playing against Paremata-Plimmerton in the Swindale Shield. PHOTOS: Stewart Baird.
- By Adam Julian
In 2014 Wainuiomata reached the Jubilee Cup final for the only time in their history. The best run of consecutive victories achieved that season was six.
On Saturday, Wainuiomata defied Poneke 18-13 at Kilbrine Park to accomplish their seventh success on the trot.
Are Wainuiomata better than what they were five years ago?
“Please don’t put the kiss of death on us,” Teru Time pleads in response to a pointed question.
“In terms of personnel, nothing much has changed. In terms of the way we play were smarter and older. We are more patient and take each moment as it comes, rather than looking too far ahead,” he continued.
Wainuiomata were runners up in the Hardham Cup last year. A resurgence over the hill appeared unlikely in March. Uale Mai (42) and Justin Va’a (41) are still regular names on the team sheet.
“Justin comes back when we’re winning,” Time grins.
“Uale will never stop. He’s still one of the fittest guys at the club.”
Time insists Wainuiomata are more than a bunch of geriatrics though. Wing Solomona Mapesone and flanker Sam Smith have impressed.
“Solomona is a year out of Wainui High School. He’s been great for us. He brings a lot of energy and can cover halfback,” Time acclaims.
“Sam is like Greg Lealofi, except he’s white,” Time roared with laughter.
Wainuiomata have proven particularly dogged on defence, conceding just 237 points in 13 games. Marist St Pat’s, who have played three Hardham Cup games, have leaked 231 points.
Wainuiomata have won five games by less than ten points, but aren’t absent of attacking flair. Returning fullback Josh Roberston-Weepu has scored 97 points while TJ Va’a and Peter Umaga-Jensen have scored 11 of the Prems 47 tries between them.
“Josh has been huge for us. He’s a great goal kicker and brings a lot of flair at the back. TJ’s had his share of injuries, but he’s smart and durable. Peter is likely to be in the Hurricanes for a while, but wouldn’t be great to get him back in time for the finals,” Time enthused.
Wainuiomata hasn’t secured a semi-final beth yet, but victory this Saturday against winless Petone would almost certainly guarantee that outcome. Time is taking nothing for granted.
“Petone is a derby game for us. They always step up against Wainui. Petone have had a few close losses which means they’ll be fired up.”
Time himself has moved from the midfield to the forwards. Despite suffering a hematoma on the foot against Poneke, Time has enjoyed the switch.
“I’m not as quick as I used to be so moving into the forwards allows me to contribute and get into the thick of things a little more,” Time concluded.
Below: Teru time scores a clutch try for Wainuiomata in their Swindale Shield round three win over Avalon.