• Hastings Rugby and Sports lock eyes revenge against NOBM

Hastings Rugby and Sports lock eyes revenge against NOBM

Lock Jessie Lesa-Sipaia is relishing his leadership role with the Hastings Rugby and Sports premier rugby team this season.

"You are seeing a fitter version of me and I've sorted out my hot head. I've matured a bit," Lesa-Sipaia (pictured above) explained in the countdown to the Maddison Trophy holders third round Nash Cup clash against the other unbeaten pool one side and Challenge Shield holders Napier Old Boys Marist at Elwood Park tomorrow.

A third-season player with the Hastings side, Lesa-Sipaia, has taken on a leadership job in the absence of injured lock Emile Crichton. Lesa-Sipaia and his teammates know the winners of tomorrow's match will keep their hopes of a berth in the Nash Cup final alive and he said his team is eager to gain revenge for their 31-29 to NOBM in last month's Spillane Cup final in Taupo.

"We were up 24-7 at halftime but switched off in the second half. If we can stay switched on, stick to our guns and play aggressive we can do it," Lesa-Sipaia said.

He pointed out it was crucial for his side to shut down NOBM's key impact loosie Pouvi Fatialofa.

"Pouvi is the pinnacle of Hawke's Bay club rugby and has been around a long time. He carries a lot of weight and I've always admired him."

A member of the Hastings Boys' High School 2016 1st XV and Hawke's Bay under-19 rep in 2017, Lesa-Sipaia, played for Hutt Old Boys in Wellington in 2018 before returning to the Bay in 2019. The Pro Trade scaffolder is hoping to crack the Hawke's Bay Saracens team this season.   

Hastings Rugby and Sports manager James Rosenberg is rapt with how Lesa-Sipaia has adapted to his leadership role. Rosenberg pointed out Ausage Fomai will play at first five-eighth and Hurricanes midfielder Danny Toala at second five-eighth.

Rosenberg is disappointed his side can't play Magpies utility back Neria Fomai who continues to provide injury cover for the Highlanders. However he said the hosts are are keen to win the Nash Cup fr the first time in at least six years and eager to continue to build momentum for their Maddison Trophy campaign.

Hastings Rugby and Sports will miss inside back Jordan Thompson-Dunn and Napier Old Boys Marist will miss first five-eighth Jonty Stewart. The pair are playing for the Hurricanes at the inaugural Super under-20 tournament in Taupo.

The other pool one clash will see Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports host MAC at Tamatea Park. This is a must-win encounter for the hosts in their quest to avoid relegation from the Maddison Trophy round.

In pool two Central Rugby and Sports will have a tough home assignment against in-form Tamatea Rugby and Sports at Waipukurau's Central Park. Central must win to keep their hopes of qualifying for the top eight alive.

Central will again miss the services of lock Frank Lochore and pivot Harry Godfrey who will be playing for the Hurricanes under-20s and prop Troy McIvor who will be playing for the Barbarians under-20s.

Unbeaten Nash Cup holders Taradale Rugby and Sports should remain on track for the final when they take on Napier Technical at Whitmore Park. Taradale will again play without Hurricanes under-20 prop Jayden Walker, Chiefs prop Joe Apikotoa, Highlanders utility back Caleb Makene and All Black Sevens squad member Ollie Sapsford.

Tomorrow's crossover match will see Clive Rugby and Sports host Havelock North at Farndon Park.  The visitors will be eager to win to keep their hopes of avoiding relegation alive.

For more free local news head to www.hbapp.co.nz