GI five points clear at top of table

Southern halfback Wilson Driver collars Green Island prop Alafala Tailega at Bathgate Park on...
Southern halfback Wilson Driver collars Green Island prop Alafala Tailega at Bathgate Park on Saturday. Also pictured are (from left) Green Island halfback Dan Smart, Southern flanker Thomas Brock and Green Island winger Vilimoni Bainibure. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery

Green Island 21

Southern 13

Green Island opened up a five-point gap at the top of the Dunedin premier competition with a hard-fought 21-13 win over Southern at Bathgate Park on Saturday.

The Grizzlies dealt with the miserable conditions better than the home side, and their pack had the edge in the set pieces.

Southern lost a lot of lineout ball in the first 40 minutes and their scrum was back-pedalling.

The first points actually came from a tighthead. Southern were shunted off their ball and first five Finn Strawbridge snapped off a pinpoint kick-pass to winger Vilimone Bainibure who just had to catch it, run a few metres and dive over.

Southern responded with a couple of penalties from the boot of Mackenzie Palmer.

Green Island lost a player to the bin either side of the half.

But it was the two yellow cards Southern picked up midway through the second half that had a bigger impact on the game.

Replacement forward Corban Agar was binned for a high tackle and prop Tafa Tafa infringed at the ruck, which cost his side a penalty try and he got a yellow card as well.

The visitors clinched the win with a try to impressive second five Riley Lucas.

Green Island loosies Ronan Dynes and Amos Roddick worked hard, and Strawbridge controlled the game nicely and made some good decisions.

Left winger Truman Cuff created a few half-chances for Southern and experienced fullback Palmer did well at the back despite the challenging conditions. — Adrian Seconi

University 27

Taieri 10

University converted set piece dominance into a 27-10 win over a plucky but undersized Taieri side at Peter Johnstone Park.

The Bookies did most of the hard work in the first half. They led 19-3 at the break.

The conditions deteriorated in the second spell and Taieri rallied.

The game was their season in a microcosm. They are gutsy but just missing a few burly blokes up front.

University were pretty clinical in the opening half, especially in the red zone.

They pushed Taieri off their ball and the front row of Charles Engelbrecht, Ricky Jackson and Steve Salelea all had outstanding games. Replacement hooker Luke Thompson impressed when he came on as well.

Blindside William Riley had a busy shift and was never far from the ball.

Taieri opened the scoring with a penalty but hooker Ricky Jackson put University in front, and fullback Jacob Waikari-Jones and second five Hugo Lynch added first-half tries.

Waikari-Jones grabbed another five-pointer 10 minutes into the second spell.

Taieri kept battling and were rewarded with a try to replacement forward Keegan Ferguson.

Eels hooker Morgan Jones shone in a losing effort and centre Josh Whaanga also stood out.

The game could have blown out but Taieri enjoyed more parity in the second spell. — Adrian Seconi

Kaikorai 20

Zingari-Richmond 20

It is not often the fulltime whistle blows and the crowd stands as if expecting more.

Such was the contest witnessed at Bishopscourt when Kaikorai and Zingari-Richmond played out a 20-20 draw.

Ball retention issues and a messy scrum cost Zingari their early territorial advantages, leading to Kaikorai taking a 3-0 lead midway through the first half.

Ben Miller slotted a penalty and it proved a wake-up call to Zingari, whose forward pack surged on to attack from the restart to dominate territory and possession.

What little ball Kaikorai received resulted in handling errors as the Colours applied pressure through robust hooker Abraham Lauaki and loose forwards Tofatuimoana Solia, Flavius Roberts-Vili and Mika Mafi.

A quick tap from a penalty led to Lauaki diving over for a five-pointer. Minutes later, Zingari surged back on to attack and first five Tyree Manaia burst through a midfield gap to score out wide.

The two sides exchanged penalty goals as Zingari took a 13-6 advantage into the second half.

A lack of discipline proved costly for Zingari early in the second spell as Miller slotted a further two penalties for Kaikorai.

The threat to Zingari’s lead breathed fire into the pack, resulting in a try to Solia.

With Kaikorai trailing 20-12 with 15 minutes remaining, Miller nailed a fifth penalty, and a sensational try to Jordan Hand locked the game up at 20-20.

The final 10 minutes were intense, both sides threatening only to be met with rock-solid defence.

Miller was making his 100th appearance for the Demons and stretched his career tally for the side to 809 points.

Only Mike Kenworthy (1050), Brendan Laney (967) and Cam Rutherford (904) have scored more points for the team. — Wayne Parsons

Dunedin 66

Alhambra-Union 0

AU were pushed off their own ball at the first scrum very early in the game in their 22m, and nothing got any better for them.

Dunedin scored soon after when fullback Josh Augustine put winger Marcus Hetherington in the clear for the first of six tries in the first half, and they led 40-0 at the break.

First five Cam Burgess and midfielder Joe Cooke were responsible for many of the breaks which led to tries as the AU backline fell off a lot of tackles and the Sharks made them pay. Hetherington, Cooke and Augustine each touched down twice to reap the rewards.

The Dunedin pack were completely dominant at scrum time and also stole a lot of AU lineout ball.

The AU pack battled away manfully and forced quite a few 5m lineout drives but they just could not breach the tigerish Dunedin defence.

The conditions rapidly deteriorated, especially in the second spell as the rain increased, and the game ended in near darkness. The handling of both sides suffered and so did the game.

Dunedin did score the try of the game in the 80th minute when they ran it out from 90m and the ball went through a lot of pairs of hands for flanker Max Ratcliffe to finish off.

Burgess and Cooke were the best for Dunedin, and prop Sepa Vaka and No 8 Hame Toma led from the front for the Sharks pack.

Prop Petelo Amato was the pick of the AU pack with his defence and strong bursts with ball in hand. — Paul Dwyer

Round 12

The scores

Green Island 21 (Vilimone Bainibure, Riley Lucas tries, penalty try, Sam Nemec-Vial 2 con), Southern 13 (Thomas Brook try; Mackenzie Palmer con, 2 pen). Halftime: Green Island 7-6.

University 27 (Jacob Waikari-Jones 2, Ricky Jackson, Hugo Lynch tries; Rico Muliaina 2 con, pen), Taieri 10 (Keegan Ferguson try; Joe Cockburn con, pen). Halftime: University 19-3.

Kaikorai 20 (Jordan Hand try; Ben Miller 5 pen), Zingari-Richmond 20 (Abraham Lauaki, Tyree Manaia, Tofatuimoana Solia tries; Tyree Manaia con, pen). Halftime: Zingari 13-6.

Dunedin 66 (Marcus Hetherington 2, Joe Cooke 2, Josh Augustine 2, Jayden Tegg, Josh Tengblad, Ben Joseph, Max Ratcliffe tries; Cam Burgess 8 con), Alhambra-Union 0. Halftime: Dunedin 40-0.


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Points earned for the bye: GI 5, Zingari 4, Kaikorai 3, Southern 2, University 1.