• NOBM fullback to play 100th match in semifinal

NOBM fullback to play 100th match in semifinal

Eight years after his debut fullback Liam Edwards will play his 100th match for Napier Old Boys Marist in tomorrow's Hawke's Bay premier club rugby competition Maddison Trophy semifinals.

"It's exciting times. I couldn't have asked for a better game for my 100th ... playing Taradale at Taradale. They are the form team of the competition.
"But anything can happen. We've got our strongest team possible. We are a mobile team with a very good game plan. We just have to trust that plan and put our bodies on the line," Edwards (pictured above, photo Chris Kiely) said on the eve of the Tareha Recreation Reserve match against the Nash Cup holders.

Former South Canterbury rep Edwards, 29, moved to the Bay in 2014. He would have played his 100th earlier had he not sliced his foot open in 2018 when a vase broke on his foot four games into the Nash Cup competition.

"I've also had several other niggly injuries," Edwards explained.

An area sales manager and father of two boys, Edwards, has yet to decide if he will continue playing at premier level next year.

"My body is good and I've made some very good friendships. But I know I have to put more time into the family," Edwards said referring to wife Jess, six-year-old Cooper and two-year-old Beaudy.

Taradale Rugby and Sports have the ammunition to win by 11 points providing they play to their potental. Their frontrow of props, captain Namatahi Waa and Joe Apikotoa and hooker Gene Syminton boasts plenty of first-class experience.

The Mighty Maroons midfield combination of in-form second five-eighth Kienan Higgins and centre Hemaua Samasoni should have the edge on the Green Machine's pair of Pedro Bezanilla and Paul Bickle.

Taradale No 8 Iakopo Mapu scored three tries in the last clash between the two teams. It will be interesting to see if he has as much freedom tomorrow.

Teams for the 3pm semifinal:
Taradale Rugby and Sports: Dylan Ramsay, Nathan Ramsay, Hemaua Samasoni, Kienan Higgins, Majella Tufuga, Brad Truesdale, Humphrey Sheild, Iakopo Mapu, Nathan Tweedy, Josh Eden-Whaitiri, Angelo Mufana, Sam Combs, Joe Apikotoa, Gene Syminton, Namatahi Waa (captain). Substitutes: Forwards, Lolani Faleiva, Jacob Ward, Andrew Gardner, Thomas Eden. Backs, Karl Hewitt, Cam Robinson, Ollie Sapsford.

Napier Old Boys Marist: Liam Edwards, Josh McIntyre, Pedro Bezanilla, Paul Bickle, Michael Buckley, Bain Champion, Zach Donaldson (vice-captain), Ricky Hayes (captain), Will Tremain, Hannon Brighouse, Boris Van Bruchem, Sean Skeet, Johnny Faleiva, Dom Devine, Lee Moleli. Substitutes: Forwards, James Holbrook, Pulea Faleiva, Matt Gardner, Pouvi Fatialofa, Logan Ede. Backs, Jonty Stewart, Sonny Lilo.