Unahi stars as Tigers savage Cowboys

Cooks player Lionel Tuwairua is tackled by South Pacific Raiders player James Piho, with Andrew...
Cooks player Lionel Tuwairua is tackled by South Pacific Raiders player James Piho, with Andrew Matoto in support, during a southern club rugby league match at Kensington Oval in Dunedin on Saturday. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Kia Toa got up over the Cowboys, moving it further ahead at the top of the southern club competition.

The Cooks came back strong against the South Pacific Raiders, and University showed great determination to hang on against He Tauaa.

The Kia Toa Tigers travelled to Invercargill for the top-of-the-table clash.

Both teams were unbeaten leading up to the game and neither side looked like giving that up in the first half. Both sides threw all they had at each other. The defence from both sides stood out as only two points separated the teams at halftime.

The break gave the Tigers the surge they needed to get ahead. Shane Unahi looked unstoppable at points, keeping up his try-scoring form with a hat-trick. Dallas Wade was a standout on defence and attack and set the bar high for the Tigers team.

The Cowboys defended well but could not stop the fight of the Tigers.

Tayla Hazlett scored a try and was 4/4 with the boot to secure the Tigers the 24-8 win.

The South Pacific Raiders opened their account early, scoring off an error from the Cooks in the first five minutes. The Raiders took charge and looked to have control of most of the first half. Tuisano Latu scored for the Raiders on debut.

The second half was a different story for the Raiders as errors began to creep into their game. Errors within the first three tackles in their own half cost them and the Cooks capitalised on their opportunities, taking the game 36-24.

University looked a different team from last week. The students played a good direct style of football and looked well structured against He Tauaa. Once again, Darcy Moore and Tyson Ball were a handful for defence through the middle of the park.

Both teams had their moments on attack and defence. Ball powered through the He Tauaa left side, crashing over for an impressive try.

University played a good first 60 minutes but their inexperience showed as they dropped off for the last 20 minutes.

He Tauaa had some chances to get the game back, but poor discipline and a few unfortunate errors allowed the students to hang on and win 22-10.

It was a good sign as they look to take on a disappointed Cowboys side, which will be wanting to bounce back next week.

 - Liam O'Brien

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