Blues all but assured of semis; late drama for Barbarians

Blues have all but assured themselves of a place in Southland's Premier Galbraith Shield semifinals after beating Marist 20-0 on Saturday.

Marist started well, bending the Blues' defence, but a lack of respect for the ball led to several turnovers.

Blues' ball-carriers soon got their team on the front foot and they were able to put Marist under pressure with quick ruck ball.

This led to Blues scoring three well-taken tries in the first 20 minutes to go up 17-0.

The next 60 minutes saw both teams create plenty of chances, but a lack of finishing meant the only points added were from a Blues penalty goal with five minutes remaining.

Playing on a muddy field at Balmoral Drive, the Blues forwards had the better of the physical exchanges.

Marist prop Shaun Stodart again led from the front, and out wide Alatini Vaihu and Javaan Fa'amoe Ioane tried to spark up Marist with several line-breaks.

The Eastern Northern Barbarians scored a late try to beat Woodlands 14-13 at the Gore Showgrounds.

The score was 7-7 at halftime, and Woodlands was up 13-7 with five minutes remaining.

Barbarians crossed in the corner and loosehead prop James Matheson capped off his great game with a sideline conversion.

The win has qualified the Barbarians for the finals, while Woodlands can still sneak in if it can earn maximum points in its last round-robin game against Pirates Old Boys and rely on Star earning no competition points against Marist.

Star scored a late try to beat Pirates Old Boys 23-18 at Surrey Park.

Star led 8-3 at half time, and Hawks hit the front when midfielder Zach Young scored a converted try.

The scores were locked at 18-18 in the closing stages when Star scored a contentious try.

Hawks assistant coach Ben McHugh was a frustrated man.

"It was a good old battle, but we were robbed at the finish."

Jack Capil made some barnstorming runs for Star.

Hawks' best were flanker Ben Keenan and 20-year-old props Riki Gage and Mitch Lawson.

Issac Tetamiki and Zach Young were the sharpest backs.

In the penultimate round of the Premier B Grade, Midlands ended Waikaka's finals chances with a commanding 54-5 win in Winton.

The Waikaka forwards competed well, but they were outstripped in the backs.

Hooker Chopper Delay and loose forwards Tom Hewitson and Mike Luxmore were the best players for Waikaka.

Edendale beat their committed Te Anau visitors 35-19.

Edendale put together a very good first half to lead 21-5.

The second half was a different story as the big Te Anau forwards fired up, with props Tom Scanlan, Kane Prentice leading the charge.

Edendale managed to pull away to a bonus point win.

Edendale players to standout up front were Vaughan Webber, Adam Muir and Hadley McLeod.

Cameron McLeod, Bram Fodie and Phil Brown starred in the backline.

Devon McLeod converted the teams' five tries.

Coach Dale Wairau said travelling south with only one reserve was a great challenge.

"The boys rose to [it], dominated in the scrums and lineouts and we won the second half.

"We are looking forward to a number of players returning next week with the hope of reaching the semis."

No8 Stephen Clegg, replacement hooker Jared Walker, and re-called veteran first five-eighth Hisashi Cole all earned the coach's praise.

Wyndham kept its unbeaten record, beating Riversdale 7-0.

 - John Langford 

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