Try-scoring rivalry

Kori Rupene.
Kori Rupene.
It is a friendly rivalry.

Utility back Kori Rupene and solid centre Kieran Moffat both want to score the most tries for Taieri Rugby Club this winter.

They shared the top spot in the Dunedin premier club rugby competition last year with 17 tries.

Rupene (24) has taken the lead after the first round of the competition, with six tries.

Moffat has scored four.

''We both scored 17 tries last year,'' Rupene said.

''I'm up on him at the moment and I want to take him.''

Rupene shifted south from Auckland in 2011 to start a building apprenticeship and has now completed his course.

Kieran Moffat.
Kieran Moffat.
He had a knee injury in 2011 and only played three games and did not score any tries.

There has been an intense rivalry with Moffat for the try scoring awards over the last three years.

Moffat won in 2012, when he scored 13 tries to Rupene's 11.

They shared the top spot last year.

Rupene was educated at Howick College in Auckland and played in the First XV for two years.

He played premier rugby in Auckland before coming to Dunedin and played for the Auckland Colts.

Rupene came south at the right time and has won two Dunedin championship banners with the Taieri premier team.

He analysed why the club has been so successful over the last four years.

''It's the mateship and camaraderie that's in the club,'' he said.

''Our supporters are going to be here if we win or lose. It's such a good following.''

A feature of Taieri club rugby since its elite team got back into premier ranks in 2009 has been the crowd support at Peter Johnstone Park.

The fans stay at the club after the game and chat with the players during the after-match function at the clubrooms.

''It's good playing for a club like this because you've got all the old boys who want to talk to you and tell you all the stories,'' he said.

''They are a great bunch of mates on and off the field. It's so good to be involved in a successful club. Rupene has appreciated the big support from the Taieri supporters at games.

''We have good crowds home and away,'' he said.

''You always know that they are going to be there, no matter what kind of weather.''

Rupene has talent and the potential to reach higher levels in the sport.

''I want to make it to the highest level of rugby that is possible for me,'' Rupene said.

''Now that I've got my building apprenticeship, rugby is just fun for me and I'm pretty excited about that.''


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