Dwyer: Varsity starting to show potential

No 11 Joshua Augustine for Dunedin bolts for the line to score a try during the Dunedin versus...
No 11 Joshua Augustine for Dunedin bolts for the line to score a try during the Dunedin versus Kaikorai match at Bishopscourt last Sunday. PHOTO: Gregor Richardson
The wrap

There is now a gap between the top six and the bottom three.

Varsity sits sixth on 12 points, and Taieri are five points adrift in seventh. The bottom two sides, Harbour and AU, have only garnered one point between them.

I stress it is early days and we are only through five rounds and there are still nine rounds to go before we hit the mythical six. Varsity are really starting to find some form as they clinically dismantled Harbour and rattled on 10 tries in the process, and their flying wingers, Asi and McMurray, were on the scoresheet again.

Green Island got the five points in the battle of the saddle over Taieri, but my spies tell me the Eels were worth a lot more than the one point they got from the game.

Taieri are not out of the top six calculations by any means.

Dunedin ventured to the high veldt and came away with a solid 20-point win and consigned Kaik to their first loss. The Sharks have their solid goal line defence to thank for the win.

AU had their best outing for the season so far and gave unbeaten Zingers a real run for their money and were in the game for at least 60 plus minutes. The Colours came away with the five points to sit second alone in the comp.


The points table

I didn’t want to get into this because I am no mathematician, but the points table has been updated after the first round has been completed.

I will be taking no correspondence on this (especially from Meikle and Seconi!) but this is what has happened.

Five teams have had a bye in the first round and as they will have one more bye than the other teams' points have been allocated for that on a pro rata basis. Points available depending on where you finished the round for those teams were five, four, three, two and one. GI finished top of that group thus five, Varsity finished last of that group thus one.

There are no points for byes in the Gallaway round which starts this weekend.

Now that should be as clear as mud so let’s move on!


Super coaches

Have we got a new group of "super coaches" forming like a small tornado in the city?

The Varsity Blue coach disappeared in an "unexplained" circumstance early in the season, and to fill the void, a plethora of luminaries have been seen with the team over the last few weeks, led by former Otago lock, John Blaikie. Jamie Joseph has been rumoured to have been involved, Ben Smith has been seen running water — how many teams is he lubricating now? I hope he’s adding gin by the end of the game. Matt Carrington has also spent time with the team.

So how have the Blues been going with all this knowledge? Well, they lost to the Makos first up but have won the last two including the scalp of Kaik who are perennial finalists in this grade. We’ll follow this team with interest.


Speaking of other grades

I’ve cast a quick glance at what is happening down the grades and who is doing what. In Prem Women, AU are the only unbeaten side. Big River Country and Dunedin are two from three, Varsity have one win and Waitaki are winless.

In Prem Colts, the Makos are the only unbeaten side with Kaik, Zingers, Taieri and Blues two from three. Very tight at this early stage.

In P2s, nobody is unbeaten in this grade with five teams all having one loss. GI lead from Zingers, Dunedin, Kaik and Varsity but you can throw a blanket over them.

In the open grade GI, Kaik and Taieri are unbeaten, and the Dunedin Tigers are also in the mix. Far too close to call and predict trends.

In Junior Colts, they have been playing grading games and the grade is now in two sections as of last weekend. Kaik and Dunedin have two teams in the top grade, and they are joined by Harbour, Varisty and Taieri.

In Women’s Development there are four teams, and Zingers are the only unbeaten team in the grade.


Down on the farm

It should read down in the mai mai. At least in South Otago they are just not playing as the ducks are calling.

In Gumboot (Invercargill) they are playing as I pen this, as they are in Central. Matak and the Maggots are playing today at 3pm then straight into a weekend of festivities — the mind boggles!

In the North again I think they are playing as I write. I did venture into the country to watch the Bulls host the Cromwell Goats at Jack Reid Park in Arrowtown last weekend.

The Bulls were a bit stronger up front and out wide had some real pace in the form of a young fullback Ben Sissons — one to watch.

Had a chat with player of the day "Rati", the portly Arrowtown first five (watch Rugby Chat on odt.co.nz) all the way from Sri Lanka.

Only in the country do you come across the unusual characters. I must get out more often.


The King of Tonga

Caught up with Kenny Lynn from the Landers this week on Landers Chat (odt.co.nz) as they were preparing to depart for Tonga and their crucial game against Moana Pasifika.

With Folau and big Saula Mau being Tongans along with Nasi Manu from the management team the Landers are doing their bit to immerse themselves in the Tongan culture. They’ve learnt a Tongan song and prayer this week and will visit Folau Fakatava’s school bearing gifts — fantastic work, lads.

The only down side is Moana Pasifika have named 12 players of descent to play this weekend — hmmm!

One of tour party going over is the aptly nicknamed KOT (King of Tonga) Jack O’Dea, because of his very portly demeanor. He is a Sharks stalwart and moves around the rugby grounds of Dunedin in a very Royal manner, albeit very slowly.

I hope he doesn’t come face to face with the real thing!


This weekend

Destroyed the Mayor last week with a perfect result, so on to "Sneds" (Graham Sneddon), pseudo Pirates/Kaik supporter and it doesn’t get any easier.

Zingers after shooting over Saddle to take on Taieri at the Eelpit, and I’m predicting it goes down to the wire. Zingari (12-) won the last game in the dying seconds and history could repeat.

The Sharks are at to Varsity for the Johnny Keogh Trophy, and it doesn’t get any bigger than this for both sides. A lot of Johnny’s mates from Kavanagh will be on the sidelines — nearly too close to call. Sharks (12-) just.

Down at Greenhouse, GI (13+) take on AU and it only goes one way and it’s all green and gold. Southern (13+) head to the balmy climes of the Codfish Cauldron to take on Harbour and as long as they duck the flying squid they win handsomely.