It was a bridge too far on Saturday for the Taieri colts
side, which went down 24-9 to Dunedin in the competition
The side had caused something of an upset in the semifinals
with a 20-3 defeat of the top-qualifying Southern side.
It looked as if a win was a possibility for a while on
Saturday, as Taieri went out to a 6-0 lead and was then up
But the Dunedin forwards soon got on top and came away with
Taieri coach Erik Va'afusuaga said the side might well have
put everything into the victory over Southern last week and
simply run out of steam against Dunedin.
Taieri also suffered from not being able to have the same
inside back division from the past couple of weeks.
Ben Miller had to fly to Melbourne for an Aussie Rules
contract and was unable to delay the trip, and Will Cosgrove
was ruled ineligible because he had been on the bench for the
premier side in a semifinal last month.
The coach said the changes were always going to upset the
team but full credit had to go to Dunedin, which played well
and did not let Taieri back into the game.
The Taieri forwards never threw in the towel and players such
as Connor Jenkins, Riley McDowell, Ethan Harrex and first
five-eighth Alex Chapman played well.
It was the first time Taieri had made a colts final for at
least 15 years and Va'afusuaga said the side should have
gained plenty of confidence from the run to the final this
It was an excellent effort and with most of the side young
enough to play for the colts side next year, the future
It has been a good year for Taieri all round. The premier
side won the title, and the premier 2 and colts teams both
reached their finals.