Pirates clinch close win after intense second half

Pirates Old Boys took their home game in premier club rugby against the Eastern Northern Barbarians out to Oreti Park in Sandy Point on Saturday.

The Barbarians are known for their dominant forward pack but their backline also had the talent to excel on the firm ground.

The Babaas’ kicked an early penalty goal and their scrum had quickly established supremacy.

After a Barbarian midfielder was stopped in his tracks by an offensive tackle, centre Jaye Thompson scooped up the loose ball and scooted away to score the first converted try for Pirates.

Barbarians landed a penalty after 29 minutes and Pirates midfielder Napoli Seru was sent to the sin bin for a late tackle.

Seru was not the only player sent to the bin in a match that on occasion quickly swung from intensely physical to over-heated.

Pirates held their 7-6 lead until halftime and after the resumption their prop Levi Gage was first to score from a series of pick-and-go movements.

The visitors immediately hit back with a try to wing Josefa Boletakibureta to make the score 14-11.

The last 10 minutes brought plenty of action.

A penalty to Greg Dyer was cancelled out by a try to Baabas replacement halfback Connor Collins.

Another penalty to Dyer made it 20-18 to Pirates, then with time up on the clock the Barbarians had a chance to steal victory with a penalty attempt but it missed.

Barbarians Coach Bretton Taylor said it was a good physical game that got a bit testy from time to time.

"Both sides applied plenty of pressure and both sides were guilty of mistakes.

‘‘We were a bit disappointed not to be rewarded from our scrum dominance."

The visitors’ usual suspects were impressive; prop Morgy Mitchell, lock Woody Kirkwood, the loose forwards, midfielder Angus Simmers and halfback Collins made an impact off the bench.

Saturday was ‘‘Club Day’’ in Riversdale where the Vikings hosted Edendale in a top-of-the-table clash with both the Wallis Shield and Speight’s Shield up for grabs.

The Vikings came out with a 24-18 win over the Magpies after both teams had put tremendous effort into this match.

A strong run from second five Lachie Moore led to him scoring one of the early tries and the Vikings leading

13-8 at halftime.

There was no let-up in intensity in the second half as both teams traded penalties and tries.

Veteran first five Rowan McKenzie was man of the match, while lock Braden Falconer and Lachie Moore were the other two Vikings standouts.

Fullback Eoin Letters converted one of the tries and landed four penalties.

Vikings are now two points clear at the top of the table.

In the other two division one games, Te Anau lost 45-14 at home to Pioneer.

The heavy loss leaves Te Anau 10 competition points off fourth spot with three games remaining.

Wyndham and Albion had a 21-21 draw.

Lock Arthur Shaw, openside Joseph Ferguson and utility Jack Allison were Wyndham’s best.

Shannon Robinson played his 150th game for Albion.

This Saturday Albion host Te Anau, the Vikings have Pioneer in Gore while Tokanui are aiming for an upset win at home against Wyndham. Edendale has the bye.

In division two, Mataura put in a good effort at Mossburn only to be beaten 25-22.

This Saturday Mataura will head over to Tuatapere to determine who will finish the round robin in eighth.

The Albion women’s team was defaulted to by Midlands, while Pioneer defaulted to Wakatipu.

This Saturday Albion will host Star and Pioneer are scheduled to play Midlands in Winton.

The Barbarians have a game against Star in Gore this Saturday.

By John Langford