Star shield favourites after thrashing Hawks

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
With five rounds remaining in the Southland premier club rugby competition, Star are the favourites to win the Galbraith Shield after thrashing the reigning champions Pirates Old Boys Hawks 57-12 on Saturday.

Going into the game at Surrey Park, both sides had only lost one of their first seven games, but Star’s 54-19 win over Barbarians last Saturday had put the Hawks on notice.

Star got off to another great start to lead 19-0 after 20 minutes.

The Hawks were the next to score but Star went on to lead 33-5 at halftime.

Star coach Brayden Mitchell said his team played some good rugby on attack but their defence was even better.

"The Hawks were a bit depleted with injuries, and they got a couple more early on in the game, but it was still a bloody good win for us," Mitchell said.

"Our set piece was good, prop Jack Sexton is holding the scrum up, he has been an asset for our team this year."

Stags lock Josh Bekhuis is playing good minutes for Star, while hooker Jayden Henderson and his brother Nick on the openside were two of the best.

First five Daniel Low, wing Richie Kuresa and fullback Cole Spinks were also impressive.

The Hawks were without their two backline protagonists. Kaea Nikora-Balloch’s quad injury is likely to sideline him for the remainder of the club campaign, while Jaye Thompson was off sick.

Coach Dayna Cunningham said the injuries did upset his side during the week but it was not an excuse for Saturday.

"Star were too good for us," Cunningham said.

"They physically dominated us and got on the front foot.

"We had two or three short periods where we played well, but we were well beaten."

First five Greg Dyer was the Hawks’ best, followed by lock Anton Schroder.

Hooker Shaun Kempton brought good intensity off the bench and Charlie Carran’s effort was appreciated for playing two games on Saturday.

The Eastern Northern Barbarians had a 36-5 win over Marist at the Gore Showgrounds.

Coach Bretton Taylor was relieved with the performance of his team after a hard loss the week prior.

The Babas led 10-0 after 20 minutes and 17-nil at halftime.

Taylor said the win was built around their forward dominance.

"The tight five were outstanding, and so were the loosies and the players off the bench."

The Babas earned their tries from their smooth rolling maul, scrum and hard carries around the ruck.

No 8 Caine Taylor had another good game, while first five Ben McCarthy and second five Angus Simmers showed what they were capable of despite the greasy conditions.

Woodlands had a 45-12 win on the sand-based ground at Les George Oval against Blues.

By John Langford