Pirates women rugby players win final for coach

The Pirates women's team celebrates its win against University in Dunedin on Saturday. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
The Pirates women's team celebrates its win against University in Dunedin on Saturday. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
A straight-talking rugby coach was the inspiration for an emotional club rugby victory on Saturday.

Neville Haua.
Neville Haua.
Pirates Rugby Club women's premier team manager Jess Tuhega said the team dedicated its 27-10 win against University in the women's club final at Kettle Park in Dunedin on Saturday to their coach, Neville ''Nev'' Haua, who died in June.

The women needed a coach in 2014 so asked to ''borrow'' him from his beloved Alhambra-Union Rugby Football Club.

He promised the women one season, she said.

''He bit off a bit more than he could chew with a bunch of headstrong women,'' Tuhega said yesterday.

The team got to work and won the premiership the same year and the coach returned for more seasons.

He was remembered fondly by the team.

''He had a strong sense of togetherness, family and sticking together but he was real straight-up. He didn't take any crap from us - we gave it and he gave it straight back - he was a lot of fun.''

If any of the forward pack was putting on weight he would tell them to lay off the burgers, she said.

''He was straight to the point - there was no beating around the bush - but with a lot of humour.''

The coach would be remembered for his set move ''pistons'', which he claimed to have invented and used when coaching the Otago Maori senior men's side.

The move allowed the forward pack to ''truck the ball up a side of the field'' before releasing it to the backs. The move allowed the forwards to not have to repeatedly get to a breakdown.

''It accommodates for your fatties,'' Tuhega said.

The team on Saturday was playing for its coach, who died ''way too young'', aged in his early 50s, after a heart attack.

''We were there to do it for Nev,'' Tuhega said

Some of the team had to ''suck it up'' to control the emotion of the win and captain Angie Sisifa ''choked up'' during a speech.

''It hit the girls quite hard.''

shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

 

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