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Saturday, 23 February 2019 10:53 pm

Propping up the B side – Bernie’s big day

Aug 15th, 2009 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, Sport

lee-260“HE was going soft on me at times – but I did all I can.”

With those few words, rookie Horowhenua prop Bernie Halu (right) summed up his biggest day, packing down against one of the world’s best.

“I left everything I had on the field and I feel good,” he said of his game against All Black Neemia Tialata (below right).

“It was my first time propping against someone with that much experience,” he said, after his side was trounced 53-6 by Wellington B at Waikanae Domain today.

Tialata and fellow AB Cory Jane turned out for the B side because Wellington A coach Jamie Joseph refused to include them in his team against Bay of Plenty tonight, despite pressure from All Black coach Graham Henry.neemia1

A crowd of roughly 2000 spectators packed out the domain.

Halfback Piri Weepu was also scheduled to play, but was ruled out after rolling his ankle at an All Black training on Wednesday.

Jane, who scored a try in Wellington’s comprehensive 44-6 victory, says it was good to get on the paddock after three weeks on the sideline.

“The puff was out of me in that first half, but I settled down in the second half,” he says.

He was disappointed not to be able to test his skills under the high ball and felt he had a quiet game.

“But I didn’t have to set the world on fire. I just step out to have fun and hopefully helped the Bs get their structures right, because it was their first game.”

Tialata says it was good to get the legs “ticking over”, though also admits the rugby “wasn’t too flash at times”.

However, he says he enjoyed his experience of playing rugby in the one of New Zealand’s heartland provinces.

“The whole week has been exceptional. It certainly gave me a reminder just how lucky we are as professional players.”

Both All Blacks were mobbed after the match, and stayed on to sign autographs and be in people’s pictures.

Horowhenua-Kapiti Rugby Union chairman John Mowbray said the union was excited by the prospect of having the All Blacks in town.

“You don’t see these players at this level because they’re playing for the main provinces,” he says.

“There’s been a lot of controversy as to whether they should be playing, but as far as we’re concerned it is an opportunity that the boys relish and we’re just so grateful this is happening.

“The main thing is to get the crowd here, get people participating, and it’s a wonderful occasion for Waikanae and the Kapiti Coast.”

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is a graduate from Whitireia Journalism School. He is as well rounded as a beachball, with his interests including rugby, sport, politics, business, tertiary education, social issues, sticking up for the little guy, investigative journalism, cooking, music, shooting the breeze, telling jokes and having a laugh. After a short stint as a general news hound at the Kapiti Observer, he now works for Rugby News in Auckland.
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