Defence on the backline optional at best

A round-up of premier league club rugby games played in Dunedin over the weekend.


Dunedin 43

This was an enthralling try-fest with the wingers grabbing seven of them as backline defence was optional at best at Montecillo.

The game looked over at halftime on Saturday as Dunedin held a 16-point lead after playing some sublime rugby in the last 20 minutes of the first spell, but nobody told Zingari.

The Colours started well and found holes in the Dunedin backline, scoring tries to midfielder Keenan Marina and winger Ryan Kreft. Dunedin replied with one to winger Marcus Hetherington but they still trailed by nine.

The Dunedin pack then took control and scored two tries from 20m-plus lineout drives. One was a penalty try for a deliberate collapse on the goal line.

Hetherington, the game’s best back, showed his extreme pace to beat three defenders with outside swerves, put a kick through to beat the fullback and won the race to the ball. Shaun Driver kicked a couple of crucial penalties to keep the gap to 16 at the break.

Zingari-Richmond centre, Tama Apineru, looks for an attacking opportunity against Dunedin at...
Zingari-Richmond centre, Tama Apineru, looks for an attacking opportunity against Dunedin at Montecillo on Saturday. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON

Early in the second spell, Dunedin coughed up possession deep in Zingari territory and the home team went 95m to score with winger Josiah Sakaria the beneficiary.

Hetherington got his third to restore the margin before the wheels fell off for the Sharks. They kept handing possession to Zingari when they were on attack with over-ambitious passing, and the home team ran in tries to Sakaria and replacement Sosaia Fonua.

Dunedin led 43-41 with three minutes left but Zingari looked dominant. Driver missed two penalties, the last from right in front, and all Dunedin had to do was clear their territory with the resulting drop-out to win the game, but they put it out on the full. From the scrum, Highlanders lock Max Hicks ran from the base and found winger Kreft, who went over in the corner.

Sakaria, Driver and first half Tyree Manaia were Zingari’s best and were involved in a lot of their tries. Hetherington was outstanding for Dunedin, fullback Josh Augustine looked full of pace and first five Burgess set up a lot of their sweeping attacks.

— Paul Dwyer

Kaikorai 51

Harbour 0

Kaikorai have fired shots in their opening two games of the Dunedin premier club competition.

After dispatching Alhambra-Union 71-8 last week, the Demons crushed Harbour at a bitter Watson Park.

Demons winger Jacob Mike helped himself to a double thanks to his lightening speed on the outside.

Flanker Lucas Casey got them under way when he scored in the opening six minutes and his troops followed with three more in the opening 21 minutes.

Harbour had no answer for the explosive Kaikorai running game and trailed 22-0 at the break.

The Demons loose forward trio of Casey, Hayden Michaels and Sidney Fidow put in a big shift up front, as did Highlanders lock Will Tucker, who got through a swag of minutes in his return to play.

Highlanders first five Rhys Patchell suited up for the Demons and threw a lovely skip ball wide for Mika to finish off.

Jordan Hand went over soon after and Jordan McEntee-Walters went over on the right wing.

Kaikorai showed the breadth of their game thanks to dominance in the scrum, and showed they can pick-and-go to keep it tight before unleashing their backs.

Michaels picked the ball up from the base of the ruck to run in an easy try, and replacement Orlando Tuhega-Vaitupu reached out to finish the job just before the final whistle.

To the Hawks’ credit, they never gave up and the scoreboard could have looked worse had they not held up a couple of the Demons tries. But they coughed up too much ball and never really gave themselves a chance.

— Kayla Hodge

Southern 41

Taieri 16

After leading by just five points at halftime, the Magpies took flight in the second half.

Winger Truman Cuff got things under way for the defending champions, scoring in the opening 10 minutes at Peter Johnstone Park.

Jovis Meredith and Ned Pene also dotted down and Mackenzie Palmer added the extras to Pene’s try.

But it was a relatively even contest for most of the first half with Taieri, despite being much smaller in size, standing up to the Southern forward pack.

Alexander Honey — who scored all of the Eels’ points — banged over an early penalty and converted his own try to keep the Eels in the hunt and trail 17-13 at halftime.

But after showing plenty of guts and determination in the opening 40 minutes, Taieri slowly ran out of gas in the second half and Southern capitalised on it.

The defending champions looked sharp with Levi Emery scoring early in the second but Honey’s penalty kept the Eels in touch.

The difference came when Eels lineout target Shea Robertson was sent to the bin and Southern pounced, running in three tries in the final quarter.

It was a good contest between the two but Southern’s experience and depth off the bench got them home.

Taieri hooker Brady Robertson put in a big shift up front and centre Josh Whaanga was all class.

Magpies No 8 Konrad Toleafoa was brutal off the back of the scrum. He made a couple of blockbusting runs, breaking through tackles and offloading to get his team some momentum.

Replacement front-rower Rewi Pomare scored two nice late tries for the Magpies.

— Kayla Hodge

Green Island 57

Alhambra-Union 23

Green Island retained the Challenge Shield in a fast-paced encounter with Alhambra-Union at Miller Park.

Playing his 50th game for AU, prop Joshua Taylor played a key role in shutting down the Green Island pack together with fellow front-rowers Benjamin Latu and Petelo Amato.

Lock Adam McNeill combined with Mitch Dunshea, returning from injury as he prepares to make his Highlanders debut, as the Broncos held their own in set pieces, and the final scoreline was not reflective of AU’s contribution to the game.

But it was Green Island’s forward pack and service from halfback Daniel Smart that provided space for the home backs to run that laid the platform for a nine-try scoring spree.

Smart, centre Riley Lucas and fullback Finn Hurley all scored a brace, and wingers Vilimone Bainibure and Samuel Nemec-Vial both picked up five-pointers out wide.

Hurley’s quick feet led to a nice try from a move that started from a lineout 5m from the Green Island line.

Lock Ronan Dynes offloaded to prop Josh Beer-Williams, who split the AU defence. The ball then went wide into the hands of Hurley, who sprinted 70m down the right touch to dot down beneath the bar.

Dynes proved a powerhouse in the forward exchanges and dominated at the lineout, and his try was just reward for a high work rate.

— Wayne Parsons

Dunedin club rugby

Round 3

Zingari-Richmond  48  (Ryan Kreft 2, Josiah Samaria 2, Keenan Marina, Sosiua Fonua tries; Shaun Driver 6 con, 2 pen).

Dunedin  43  (Marcus Hetherington 3, Josh Augustine, Liam Arthur-Hunt tries, penalty try; Cam Burgess 4 con, pen).

Halftime: Dunedin 36-20.

Kaikorai  51  (Jacob Mika 2, Lucas Casey, Zach McKenzie, Michael Strydom, Jordan Hand, Jordan McEntee-Walters, Hayden Michaels, Orlando Tuhega-Vaitupu tries; Nicolas Proffit 3 con).

Harbour  0.

Halftime:  Kaikorai 22-0.

Southern  41  (Truman Cuff, Jovis Meredith, Ned Pene, Levi Emery, Rewi Pomare, Harry Taylor, Rewi Pomare tries; Mackenzie Palmer 3 con).

Taieri  16  (Alexander Honey try; Honey con, 3 pen).

Halftime: Southern 17-13.

Green Island  57  (Dan Smart 2, Riley Lucas 2, Finn Hurley 2, Ronan Dynes, Vilimone Bainibure, Samuel Nemec-vial; Finn Hurley 6 con).

Alhambra-Union  23  (Kenneth Delaiono 2 tries; William Thode 2 con, Anzac Tipene 3 pen).

Halftime:  Green Island 31-9.


Southern 3 3 0 0 3127 40 15
Zingari-Richmond 3 3 0 0 2102 93 15
Kaikorai 2 2 0 0 2122   8 10
Green Island 2 2 0 0  1 75 33  9
Taieri 3 1 2 0  2 75 110  6
Dunedin 3 1 2 0 2 80    8  5
University 2 0 2 0  2 44  54  2
Harbour 3 0 3 0  1 35 119  1
Alhambra Union 3 0 3 0 0 38166 0