‘Panda’ Announces Arrival As Kia Toa In Te Kawau

RUGBY: Many Manawatū faithful will remember prop Sione Asi for his physical dimensions when he played all 16 games for the Turbos from 2017-2019.

Well, ‘Panda’ announced his return to town, all 140 kilograms of him, when he rode for the final 25 minutes for Kia Toa in their 24-10 win over Te Kawau at Rongotea on Saturday.

Asi may only be 24, but now feels more suited to the professional game than when he tried it at 17.

He had a checkered career, from St Peter’s College and Tua Toa in Palmerston to Otago Boys High School, then represented New Zealand Under-20s and Manawatū before returning home to Oamaru Old Boys.

* Old Boys-Marist tops the leaderboard in high-scoring win over Kia Toa
* Te Kawau beat Old Boys-Marist to solidify his place in the top four
* College Old Boys go wild on Freyberg

In 2020, he enjoyed a season with the Sunwolves in Japan, before taking a physical and mental break and having just returned from nine months in France with Lyon Olympique’s feeder club Stade Métro.

“The style of football there didn’t suit me, too focused on set pieces,” he said. Neither does the “on and off the pitch” culture.

“I have been in contact with the Turbos. I want to get back to it and work hard. [Coach] Rock [Russell] gave me the word severe. I think I have one more crack in me.

As he sheds the pounds, Kias will welcome him with a clear head for the rest of the season as they chase a place in the semi-finals.

They are fifth after bagging maximum points in the mud at Rongotea, but will have to topple Feilding at Highbury next Saturday.

Until half-time, Te Kawau had trapped Kias in his own half, apart from an escape when exciting half-back Jakob Rauhihi-Collis (out of Palmerston North Boys High School) took a high ball and scored shortly after.

He has the size and courage of a jockey, the son of racehorse trainer Tracy Collis, and was Kias pocket star on Saturday.

His try came two minutes after Te Atuarere Albert scored from an old-school Te Kawau scrum.

While Kias’ scrum initially faltered, their lineup also backfired and they conceded their usual dose of penalties.

Their scrambling defense was desperate enough to withstand Real Blokes mauls and net breakdown turnovers to stay 5-all at halftime.

Where they lacked the ball in the first half, they had plenty in the second.

Kia midfielder Toa Faleseu Tauailopo in the thick of action against Te Kawau at Rongotea on Saturday.


Kia midfielder Toa Faleseu Tauailopo in the thick of action against Te Kawau at Rongotea on Saturday.

Thanks to the drive of Rauhihi-Collis, the work-rate of Ofa Tauatevalu and that of veterans Bethel Fau’olo and Moeaki Samita and the arrival of Hurricanes Under-20 hooker Sase Va’a, Te Kawau s is beaten to cover line breaks from Kias fullbacks.

There was no chance of a repeat 26-all like the first round, despite the toil of forwards such as hooker Richard Tennant and locks Jimmy Berghan and Ben Kimber.

Full-back Adam Boult tried to shake things up in the top 40 while prop Nasser Tato scored a full-time consolation try.

Old Boys-Marist retained second place by beating the defending champions Felding 30-28 with a Chris Cairns try from a full-time roster at Johnston Park.

Everyone agreed that it was an even and thrilling match in front of a large crowd, marked by continual changes up front.

The folks at Feilding, on their club day when they had former All Black Frank Bunce as a guest speaker, felt a draw would have been a fairer reflection.

OBM won the Owen Gleeson Cup for the first time in three seasons and both teams scored three tries.

While Feilding scored his first try after just three minutes, he will regret not shutting up shop as he trailed 28-23 with five remaining.

OBM was missing skipper Matene Ruawai and lock Jay Rolleston but it was a real battle and OBM had a solid scrum before being depowered late in the game.

The top-five champion was one of OBM’s standouts, as was flanker Declan McCormack who was on another level when he arrived for the final quarter.

Turbos half-back Logan Henry played 40 minutes and scored from a penalty on his debut for the Yellows.

Their best were Hurricane TK Howden, who was again hard to subdue, No.8 Lene Tonga, winger Carlos Ropoama-Third and Wild.

Feilding is third ahead of College Old Boys.

college old boys featured former Turbo and NZ Sevens Junior star Tomasi Cama for his annual cameo as they extinguished an injury blow Freyberg 46-17 at Colquhoun Park.

He came on in the second half and lost none of his skills, only his hair.

COB scored within the first five minutes and never seemed to let go of their grip. While they had the best of line-ups, scrums were steady with Freyberg’s props back, if some on limited minutes.

COB scored seven tries to three, including two against speedster Jayden Keelan on the wing.

Flanker Elyjah Crosswell wore well and others to shine were in the top five, hooker Jerry Saua, until he was injured, and prop Sean Paranihi and lock Jared Goodson.

Halfback Jordi Viljoen was the only one of their three Hurricanes 20 players to return.

Freyberg’s senior men had to keep their spirits up as the scoreline rose and injuries mounted on Saturday, coach Potene Paewai expects them to field their best line-up next week against OBM.

Freys’ tackling was poor and there were too many unforced errors.

Their best Saturday was again No. 8 Jekope Kitou, who was called up to the Evergreens squad on Monday, prop Joe Gavigan in his allowed 40 minutes and props Darius Mafile’o and Feleti Sae Ta’ufo’ou, who were due to stand. closer to New Zealand. selection of under 20s.

COB is hosting its Alumni Day at Queen Elizabeth College against Varsity next Saturday.

In women’s competition, Feilding Old Boys-Ōroua was full of motivation at Ashleigh Knight Memorial Day in Kimbolton, a women’s rugby festival day honoring Manawatū and striker FOB-Ōroua Knight, who died after being fell from the back of a vehicle. in December.

FOB-Ōroua won 21-0 against previously unbeaten Kia Toa take the lead in the women’s top four with one lap to go.

Old Boys-Marist beaten Bush 80-7 in the other top four game.

In the last three Wanganui Metro beat Ashhurst Pohangina 97-0.

Wairarapa Wahine had to see him again.

In college rugby, the Palmerston North Boys Secondary School the first XV could not win back the Polson banner, losing 22-18 to Napier Boys’ High School at Napier in the Super 8, the third year in a row Napier have won the coveted banner.

Traditionally staged at the end of the season, the match was brought forward to coincide with Napier’s 150th celebrations.


Kia Toa 24 (Jakob Rauhihi-Collis, Harrison Evans, Sase Va’a, Te Atawhai Mason, tries; Te Atawhai Mason, Tevita Henare-Schuster, against) Te Kawau 10 (Te Atuarere Albert, Nasser Tato, try) ME 5-everything.

College OB 46 (Jayden Keelan 2, Ben Minhinnick, Andrew McDougall, Isaac Tupai, Leli Rokolio, Jordi Viljoen, tries; McDougall 2, Junior Tomasi Cama 2, vs; Jahlon Governor DG) Freyberg 17 (Joe Gavigan, Kahn Fotuali’i, Trent McGrath, tries; Ben Stephens con) HT 27-5.

OB-Marist 30 (Jeremy Dobson, Bradley Fountain, Chris Cairns, tries; Aidan Champion 3 con, 3 pen) Field 28 (Carlos Ropoama-Third, TK Howden, Logan Henry, tries; Drew Wild 2 con, 3 pen) HT 13-12.

Ranking :

Men: Varsity 35, OB-Marist 30, Feilding 30, College OB 25, Kia Toa 21, Te Kawau 11, Freyberg 7.

Women: Top 4: FOB-Ōroua 9, Kia Toa 5, OB-Marist 5, Bush 0.

Three down: Wairarapa Wahine 5, Whanganui Metro 5, Ashhurst Pohangina 0.

Horowhenua Kāpiti result: Levin COB 19 Rahui 17.

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