Showdown set for Gore

A club rugby extravaganza is set for the Gore Showgrounds this Saturday with eight senior teams in action. The premier grade match between the Eastern Northern Barbarians and Star at 3pm is the feature game.

Blues will host the Pirates Old Boys Hawks at Balmoral Dr, while Marist has home ground advantage against Woodlands.

Perfect weather graced Southland last Saturday for round two of the Premier Club Rugby competition.

In the most anticipated match of the round, the Eastern Northern Barbarians beat Woodlands 26-24.

The Barbarians led 19-nil at halftime and when they scored another converted try after the resumption, the locals looked to be dead and buried. Woodlands then scored an intercept try and the Baabaas started to give away a cluster of penalties and lost a man to the sin bin.

The momentum had switched and Woodlands fought back to score three more tries to trail by 26-24.

Barbarians coach Bretton Taylor said it ended up closer than he would have liked. "We were playing well; we had the edge up front and were turning pressure into points before things turned around on us a bit there. But we’ve got the five competition points and we’ve got a bit to work on."

Fullback Ben McCarthy was man of the match after making some scything runs, hooker Liam Ferguson and No 8 Benny Hill were two standouts in a very good forwards effort. Ryan McFaul played well in the midfield.

Coach Taylor said Tapanui lad Troy McIvor and Morgan Mitchell had strengthened the Barbarians front row this year. "Morgy is huge for us, he is showing his class as an all-round footballer, he tackles, runs and scrums well and he is a great man."

Woodlands coach Richard Jones said it was frustrating that it took 50 minutes for his team to get into it.

"Our ball security and option taking was poor in the first half, the Barbarians have got a big physical pack, and their backs were good too. They won the key moments and we were outplayed. On a positive note we stayed in the fight, we just need to fine tune a few things."

Lock Alex Yellop and second five-eighth Tauasosi Tuimavave were the best of the locals.

Pirates Old Boys Hawks were comfortable 45-7 winners over Marist. The Hawks were clear favourites on their home ground and wasted no time in asserting their dominance.

Second five-eighth Napo Seru used his bulk to bowl over for the first try, openside Matt James was next to score from a lineout drive. Fullback Kaea Nikora-Balloch stepped through the line to score and convert the third try within the first half hour. The fourth try was scored in the corner after the ball went through the backline for wing Eneriko Taukei to dot down.

Marist scored first in the second half through an intercept try but the Hawks made sure there was no chance of a comeback when Matt James charged down a kick to score his second try. Hawks wing Isaac Rounds finished off two good backline tries.

Hawks fullback Kaea Nikora-Balloch, blindside Dusty Coveney and No 8 Jakob Harrex were the game’s best players.

Star earned a confidence-boosting win when they beat Blues 48-7.

The division one competition began last Saturday with seven teams aiming for the Ack Soper Shield. Edendale beat Tokanui 33-14, Albion had a 21-19 win over Pioneer and Wyndham comfortably beat Waikaka 32-5.

Te Anau had the bye but will host Edendale in round two on Saturday. Albion will host the Waikaka Riversdale Vikings in the curtain raiser to the Barbarians game. Tokanui will have home ground advantage over Pioneer.

Division Two: Collegiate lost 36-5 to Wakatipu B, Midlands beat Mossburn 60-7 in Winton, Ohai Nightcaps Otautau beat Drummond Limehills Star 31-20 at Nightcaps, while Central Pirates had a 21-19 win over Waiau Star at Wilson’s Crossing. Riverton demolished Mataura 81-nil and Waikiwi had the bye.

Division Two Development: Bluff had a 52-24 win over Marist B, Blues beat Pirates Old Boys B 22-12. Star’s B team lost 8-5 to Woodlands B.

Division Two draw: Waiau Star v Mossburn 2pm, Waikiwi v Midlands, Wakatipu B v Otautau Ohai Nightcaps, Mataura v Collegiate, Bush Pirates v Riverton at Wrights Bush.

Development Grade at 1.15pm: Woodlands B v Blues B, POB B v Bluff, Marist B v Star B.

Women’s Grade at 1.15pm: Albion v Midlands, Pioneer v Wakatipu.

 - By John Langford