FOR the first time in “a number of years” the Te Anau senior rugby team beat Wyndham 19-17 at Te Anau on Saturday.
The game was especially rewarding as Wyndham had been a finalist in last year’s Ack Soper Shield match.
Te Anau coach Dale Wairau said there was a minute’s silence before the game to mark the passing of Soper, who died last week aged 83.
In dry and sunny conditions the closely contested game played out.
“It was a well-fought battle between the two teams that was an arm wrestle from the start,” Wairau said.
“It’s the result we have been working towards and the lads deserved to have the win having worked really hard together considering the little lead-in time that we had with adhering to the Covid-19 rules.
“There’s a real excitement within the senior team and having that win was just the mental shift that was needed. Te Anau hasn’t beaten Wyndham for a number of years.”
Te Anau was mostly made up of players who were in last year’s team with a lot of homegrown talent, he said.
“A number of these players have come through the Te Anau RFC junior ranks, while some have come back from other provincial and overseas clubs.”
The team was well supported during the game by many loyal supporters, families, sponsors and club life members.
“When you see the smiles of the supporters there’s a deep satisfaction in seeing that… however, one game doesn’t win a competition, we will look at the positives but definitely be looking at certain areas of our game we can work on,” he said.