Dwyer: Varsity spring surprise

Club Rugby University lock Ale Aho tries to escape the tackle of Zingari No 8 Mika Mafi last...
Club Rugby University lock Ale Aho tries to escape the tackle of Zingari No 8 Mika Mafi last Saturday. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
The wrap

Varsity wasn’t supposed to win, especially against unbeaten Zingari. They had 5 out after a bruising encounter with the Sharks, but they demolished Zingari and racked up 50-plus to announce they are back and a contender. The calculators were out on the High Veldt as Kaik rattled in the tries and held AU scoreless. Jordy McEntee the flying winger clocked up 4 on his own. Southern were too big and fast for Taieri and the mercurial Mackenzie Palmer was unstoppable at the back, scoring three tries. Harbour breathed life into their season with a stunning defensive performance against a woeful Sharks outfit, who just can’t win at Port. The top 6 are 12 points clear of the chasing three, so there’s some work to do at the bottom.


In the country ...

I said earlier this year that West Taieri would go unbeaten for the year. Then the Coalminers from Kai turned up and wiped the floor with them. But there could be a bit more to it. I mentioned there was chaos out there a couple of weeks ago, with a lot of damage done. In response, half a dozen players could have been stood down, which might explain that result. But it certainly throws the South Otago comp wide open. In the deep south they all just keep beating each other, so it’s too early to pick a winner. In Central it is Upper Clutha’s comp to lose ... I get deja vu here, but surely this is our year. In the north it was looking like Excelsior’s comp, but they drew at the weekend with Athies and the other results were on a knife edge, so let’s keep an eye on things.


And in Southland ...

The news is the council is pulling the pin on repairing Rugby Park, as it is a bottomless pit. So where does this leave Southland Rugby? Well if rumours are true, still splashing the cash. Word is Highlanders lock Mitch Dunshea and winger "Jimmy D" (Timoci Tavatavanawai) may be suiting up for them in the NPC. Tell me it’s not so? Add that to the Southland Academy that Scott Eade is running at Shark Park with 15 or 16 Dunedin club players. Where is all the money is coming from? Do Otago know this is all happening under their noses? This story just keeps on giving.


Grudge match

There is a lot of hot air emanating from the Taieri Plains about a big grudge match this Saturday between the Eels and the Pigs, in second grade no less, at the Market Garden at Outram. It’s typical big-brother, little-brother stuff, with a lot of accusations being thrown around. The funniest one is that the West Taieri Prems tried to get their win against Owaka played on Friday night so they could back up in this game — surely not? Anyway, I’ll be looking for the result and some stories from this game with interest!


140ths are the new 150ths

It seems nobody can count at Dunedin rugby clubs any more! Taieri started the trend a couple of years ago, and everybody is jumping on the bandwagon. The 150th seems to have been replaced as we want it right here, right now. Kaik are in for a right old time this weekend as they celebrate their 140th. They’ve got a big match against GI which is too close to call. GI are also having a 140th at King’s Birthday weekend. Varsity and Southern are also planning 140ths that weekend. Nobody is talking to me from Harbour, but the rumour is they’ve got one as well, and here’s me thinking they were formed in the early ’90s! It probably dates back to Port Chalmers days.


This weekend

Destroyed Mike Coggan from Otago Cricket last weekend and on to Leanne Anderson from Dunedin Netball this weekend, so the run continues unabated.

The "Vic Cavanagh" is on the line at Bog Bathgate tomorrow and both teams are in top form so it’s nearly too close to call. I’ll give it to the Magpies (12-) as I suspect their pack may just have the edge, but Leinert-Brown is fronting for Varsity.

The Sharks are at home in the sandpit to the Eels. Dunedin (12-) can’t play as poorly as they did last week, so should be too strong up front.

But the Whaanga brothers are fronting for Taieri, so expect the game to go deep. Kaik (12-) are at home and take on the GI Spannerheads who are the only unbeaten side. I’ll tip Kaik to shatter that record, but it could go either way. Zingers are at home to Harbour at Bastion Point and playing for the "Scoles". Zingers (12-) haven’t held it for 15 years but they’ll get it back tomorrow.

Unbelievably I was crushed by Andrew Paterson from Matak last week and I’m still in shock. Up against Toko president Brad Frost this weekend so pride needs to be restored. Clinton (12-) are at home to Heriot and will win it just! The Colliers from Kai (13+) will head to Gabriels Gully and roll Lawrence. The two Cluthas square off at Valley and the Townies (12-) will prevail. Owaka (12-) are at home to West Taieri (12-) who are in turmoil — I predict the biggest upset of the century!