Rugby: Dunedin beat Taieri in nail-biting opener

Dunedin have beaten Taieri in 30-29 nail-biter in a repeat of last year's final in the opening round of Dunedin Premier Rugby today.

It took a last minute penalty by Highlanders squad member Trent Renata for the defending champions to prevail at their home ground.

Elsewhere, University A turned on the gas in the second spell to outclass Green Island 52-10.

The students led 20-10 at the break and it was one way traffic in the second spell as they took charge.

University scored five tries and 32 unanswered points in the second spell.

Big lock Josh Dickson was aggressive in the pack with his rampaging runs with the ball in hand and his skill in the lineout. Fullback Matt Faddes was dangerous on the counter-attack.

Green Island put up a fight in the first 40 minutes but ran out of puff in the second spell after playing three-quarters of the game with only 14 men.

Southern were too big and too strong and gave Harbour a hiding 37-0 at Watson Park.

Centre Tei Walden scored one of Southern's six tries and was the best of the backs. No 8 Mika Mafi was the best of the forwards.

A rampant Kaikorai enjoyed a wealth of territory and possession when it scored seven tries to beat Pirates 43-15.

University A 52 (Matt Faddes, Sam McLachlan, Shea Tucker, Nick Annear, Dillon Hunt, Josh Dickson, Barnaby Weir tries; Sam Ellis 2 con, 3 pen, Faddes 2 con), Green Island 10 (Fapene Popoali'i try; Brady Page con, pen). Halftime: University A 20-10.

Dunedin 30 (Rowan McKenzie, Mitchell Zandstra 2, Gareth Evans tries; Greg Dyer con, pen, Trent Renata con, pen), Taieri 29 (Dwayne Burrows, Ben Miller, Josh Casey tries; Casey con, 4 pen). Halftime: Taieri 21-17.

Southern 37 (Logan Smith, Josh Gordon, Tei Walden, Tom Franklin, Tim Ferguson, Nathan Cargo tries; Josh Ioane con, pen, Frae Wilson con), Harbour 0. Halftime: Southern 10-0.

Alhambra-Union 37 (Corey McFadzean, Ben Qauqau, Tom Viggo, Kurt Baker tries; Peter Breen 4 con, 3 pen), Zingari-Richmond 34 (Lockie Moore, Chris Bell, Tom Rowe 2 tries; Willie Ripia 4 con, 2 pen).Halftime: Zingari 20-17. Halftime: Zingari 20-17. 

Kaikorai 43 (Logan Moore 3, Lee Allan 2, Matt Te Tana, Cameron Rutherford tries; Rutherford 4 con), Pirates 15 (Craig Sneddon, Tim Cossens tries; Cossens con, pen). Halftime: 31-15. 

Kaikorai v Pirates

Pirates have gone down to a well-drilled Kaikorai Demons today in a front of a decent crowd enjoying the sunny yet blustery conditions.

Pirates were strong in the forwards but the Demons' attack was firing on all cylinders, racking up 7 tries against the home side.

The first try of the match was scored not long after the opening whistle with Kaikorai putting together numerous phases from the kick off leading to Matt Te Tana dotting down for the opening 5 pointer.

It didn't take long for the visitors to rack up another score with a hard running Logan Moore crossing the line for his first 5 pointer following good interplay.

The Pirates attack kicked into gear after that with a beautiful set piece play 60 metres out seeing mid-fielder Adam Gavegan launching off the scrum, busting right through the mid-field to offload to chasing fullback Craig Sneddon who duly crossed the chalk.

That was followed by a Pirates penalty to bring the home side to within 4 points.

After that it was all Kaikorai with Logan Moore racking up a Hat Trick before the half benefitting from good linking from the backs.

Pirates pulled one back to Tim Cossens after some signature Pirates forward play through the middle of the park.

Demons Captain Lee Allan put an exclamation on the half with his own try seeing the first 40 end with the visitors 31-15 up.

Fitness was a factor in the second like it always is in the opening game of the season with both teams struggling to put phases together.

Both teams would work their way into good positions only for a knock on to stifle the attack.

Kaikorai did manage to cross the line twice to a rampaging Lee Allan and to composed first five Cam Rutherford who kicked well from the tee in difficult conditions.

Final Score Kaikorai: 43 - Pirates:15

The Pirates pack was dominant through the forwards but struggled to keep up with the attacking play of Kaikorai who will be pleased with their first up efforts.

Player of the game: Pirates prop Craig Millar was destructive at scrum time and up the middle and Demons Captain Lee Allan was at his hard running best but the gong would have to go to Hat Trick Hero Logan Moore, the Kaikorai mid-fielder was dangerous on attack, popping up everywhere.  

- Otago Community Rugby Game of the Week report by Sam Gilchrist