Blockbuster games likely for semifinals

It is semifinal time in the Southern Region competition as we look forward to what should be two blockbuster games.

The Clutha Steamers wrapped up the round robin with their last-gasp win over Heriot last weekend.

The Steamers, who also locked away the Speight’s Jug and Springbok Horns for the year, host Toko, which sealed its spot in the semifinals with a late winner at Owaka.

Toko has not featured in the playoffs for seven years, but it has earned its spot this season.

The teams drew in the round robin, which adds to the intensity of this match.

Clutha will look to use its backs to good effect with wingers Kane Teunissen and Robin Fesilafai in fine finishing form.

Toko will attempt to keep the ball in tight with its big ball-runners and strong set piece major features of its game.

Prop Kieran O’Sullivan has been a big signing for Toko this year and has been rewarded with a place in the Otago Country wider training squad.

O’Sullivan, Josh Beer-Williams and Liam Kingma have been huge in the pack for Toko.

Clutha Valley was overtaken by Clutha last weekend and finished second on the table.

Valley hosts Crescent in the other semifinal at Clydevale.

Both sides finished with the same number of points, but due to Valley’s win over Crescent earlier in the season, the semifinal will be played at Valley’s home ground.

Since 2017, these teams have met three times in semifinals with Crescent holding a 2-1 advantage.

Clutha Valley is the reigning champion and will not be easy to beat on its home patch.

Crescent is coming off a strong win over Clinton and seems to be hitting its straps at the right time, while Valley, off the bye, will be ready for action.

In the bottom four semifinals, Heriot hosts Owaka and West Taieri hosts Lawrence.

By Francis Parker

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