University, Ponsonby take honours

Otago University and the visiting Ponsonby club dominated the latest round of the Otago Rugby League competition.

University had wins over Kia Toa (28-16) and the Waitaki Warriors (30-8), while Ponsonby beat the Warriors 38-8 before thumping Kia Toa 60-0.

The students were scratchy in the opening game but were guided home by Thomas McKenzie, who scored three long-range tries with his power and pace through the middle.

Kia Toa showed real ticker to finish strongly with three good tries.

Taniora Raniera was immense, unsettling University’s right edge with some devastating running and ball-playing.

Hagan Free was also a strong performer, and his carries in the middle provided the Tigers the platform to strike either side of the ruck.

Against the Warriors, University found top form, dominating field position and possession.

Captain Ricki Allan, Logan Taimalie and Ashley Jenkins provided go-forward which gave halves Eteru Ropeti and Shay Reddy scoring chances out wide.

Liam Smith and Kei Kobayashi stood out in the second half, Jayden Hollander was a lively dummy half, and Nathaniel Anderson made some bullocking runs out wide.

Waitaki started with a roar against Ponsonby, forcing the Aucklanders into several errors and taking a 4-0 lead.

Ponsonby, led by Damon Niko, bounced back to lead 12-4 at halftime, and pulled away in the second half, though the Warriors scored a consolation try.

A Donz Talagi hat-trick powered the Ponies to its big win over Kia Toa in the final game of the day.

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