Marist overcomes Woodlands' fast start

Former Highlanders hooker Greg Pleasants-Tate is about to throw into a lineout for his Star side...
Former Highlanders hooker Greg Pleasants-Tate is about to throw into a lineout for his Star side against Blues at Balmoral Drive on Saturday.PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Cold, wet conditions made for some close contests in the Southland club competition on Saturday.

In the Galbraith Shield, Marist, Star and the Eastern Northern Barbarians all increased their chances of making the finals.

Marist came from behind to beat Woodlands 29-28 at Les George Oval.

Woodlands stunned Marist with three tries in the first 20 minutes to take a 21-0 lead. Marist managed to work its way into the game and scored three tries and a penalty to take an unlikely 22-21 lead at halftime.

Woodlands scored a converted try after halftime but it was not long before Marist regained the lead, following a nice scrum move which led to the match-winning converted try.

The remainder of the game was keenly contested. Both sides had scoring chances but could not capitalise and Marist hung on to claim the bonus-point win.

Marist's best was winger Keanu Kahukura, who was also celebrating his 100th game for Marist.

Woodlands Coach Derek Manson was gutted to lose after leading 21-0.

"As a team we were looking to address our slow starts, and we did that in spades, but we may have been guilty of getting a bit complacent after that," he said.

Two Southland Stags players made a welcome return to club rugby for Woodlands in prop Joe Walsh and halfback Nico Costa.

The Barbarians beat Pirates Old Boys 38-15 in muddy conditions at Surrey Park. The Barbarians made a good start and led 21-3 at halftime.

Halfback Jake Lawlor was a strong voice and defender throughout the match for the victors.

The home team did not turn up in the first half but played better in the second half. Its best were front-rower Lennon Gaven, wing Ash McKewin and first five-eighth Issac Tatamiki.

Star beat Blues 22-21 at Balmoral Drive. Blues got out off to a fast start, exploiting some absent Star defence out wide while wing Kaleb Talamahina was off the field for 10 minutes searching for a mouth guard.

Star came back with two tries in the second quarter to lead 12-10. Blues kicked two goals in the third quarter before Star forwards took control. Prop Greg Pleasants-Tate and utility loose forward Jordan Stewart both put in dominating displays for Star. Lock Jack Capill was also impressive.

It was a hard-fought battle with plenty of niggle.

In the Premier B Grade Waikaka enjoyed a gutsy 22-19 win at home over Riversdale. Referee Andrew Rowlands controlled the game well.

The Waikaka forward pack stood up to the Riversdale front five.

Welsh first five-eighth Iwan Evans kicked the team into good field position, and tighthead prop Matt McCall also had a great match in his 50th game for the green machine.

Wyndham beat neighbour Edendale 24-17. Wyndham adapted to the conditions and controlled possession for the majority of the game.

Wyndham locked away the Wallis Shield for another season. The shield is the eastern sub-union club supremacy trophy.

Midlands improved to third on the points table with a 26-7 win over Te Anau, in Winton. Midlands led 10-0 at halftime. As the weather deteriorated Te Anau began to tire and Midlands stretched and penetrated the defence.

Midlands hooker Lachie Wood and lock George Hazlett played well, as did captain Sam Brame at No8. Left wing Mark Tree and centre Aaron McDowell were two of the better performing backs.

Te Anau lock Rusiate Vuruya in his comeback game from injury made an impact with strong ball carries. Halfback Tyrone Prentice guided the forward pack astutely. Openside flanker James Wairau was lively on attack and his twin brother Nathan on the blindside put in some solid defence.

 - John Langford

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