Hawke's Bay Tuis women's rugby coach Arthur BrownCoach optimistic despite drubbing
Hawke's Bay Tuis women's rugby coach Arthur Brown refuses to give in as his quest for a semifinal berth reaches the miracle wanted stage.
"Next weekend's game against Otago is a must win one and we'll reassess things after that match," Brown said after the Tuis third consecutive loss in as many matches, a 69-0 drubbing from Canterbury at Napier's Park Island on Saturday.
When Brown took on the job at the start of the season he stressed a semifinal berth was achievable and the Tuis will have to win their remaining three matches against Otago, Auckland, and Manawatu to secure a top four finish.
If his troops can play for 80 minutes like they did for the first 40 against Canterbury they might have a sniff against Otago in Dunedin. Hawke's Bay did well to trail 17-0 at halftime on Saturday.
In fact the Tuis could have had a couple of tries in the first half but their lack of patience contributed to soft turnovers. The Tuis scrummaging and lineout play was admirable during the first half.
Hard-nosed No8 Turina Paku and blindside flanker Ditte Van Vliet were inspirational as the Tuis forward pack enjoyed some dominant patches. First five-eighth Krysten Duffill also found holes in the Canterbury defence but didn't have the necessary support when she did.
Unhappy with the visitors first half effort the Cantabs responded to their halftime blast in style at the resumption. Most of the Tuis defensive work during the second half was shambolic.
Canterbury second five-eighth Christina Falwasser, who grabbed a hat-trick, winger Tayla Ford and first five-eighth Kendra Cocksedge, who both scored two tries, along with No8 Casey Robertson were given too much freedom. Cocksedge scored two tries, eight conversions and a penalty for a 29-point haul.
Brown pointed out it could have been easy for him to leave his first string line-up on the field for the remainder of the match but with Canterbury well in control early in the third quarter he opted to give his bench players plenty of game time.
"We have to think about the development for next year too," he stressed.
"I made five changes in the forwards and everyone had game time."
"We watched the Hawke's Bay under-20s play after our game. They showed our girls how you don't have to be bigger than your opponents to win ... you just have to be accurate in everything you do and everyone has to be on the same page," Brown added.