Top-of-the-table clash looms in round four

Crescent winger Fesui Viliamu is tackled by Clinton midfield back Jack Clayton with Paul Papali'i...
Crescent winger Fesui Viliamu is tackled by Clinton midfield back Jack Clayton with Paul Papali'i in support during the second half of the match at Kaitangata last Saturday.PHOTO: JOHN COSGROVE
The Southern region rugby competition has four blockbuster games scheduled heading into round four.

The match of the round is a replay of the last two finals and a battle between first and second on the competition ladder.

Crescent leads the competition after registering maximum points out of its first three games. Clutha, courtesy of its draw with Toko last weekend, sits in second place, two points behind the Coal Miners.

Crescent, by its own admission, has not played a complete game yet, but has done enough to win.

Its forwards are muscling up and doing their bit to help the backs score tries.

The impact off the bench is something that has helped Crescent immensely so far this season. Clutha is a little off the pace at present.

Last week its discipline let it down, but it is still a quality outfit, more than capable of running away with this game if Crescent give it a chance.

Third-placed Heriot travels to Clinton with hopes of continuing its unbeaten run.

Heriot has also won three from three, but its lack of bonus points sees its sit below Clutha on the table.

Heriot coach Craig Stanway said he was pleased with the work the players have put in, and the side is just about hitting its straps.

The Heriot forward pack has been dominant as usual, with veterans Blair Young and Lockie Brenssell leading the way. Young hooker Tom Fraser and new player Max Chabert are very exciting.

Heriot's backs are also dangerous, with fullback Clayton Buchanan in try-scoring form. Clinton has one point from three games and is yet to register a win. But Clinton has been a bogey side for Heriot in recent seasons.

The Bryan Price Trophy is on the line as Owaka hosts Clutha Valley. The Owaka side is sitting in fourth place and has a two-win, one-loss record.

Its performance against Roxburgh last weekend was pleasing, but the side knows there is still plenty of hard work to do. Clutha Valley has one win to its name and is sitting in fifth place, seven points below the top four.

Both sides have few injuries and can choose strong teams for the game tomorrow.

It is a hard game to pick a winner for.

Roxburgh hosts Toko in the final game of the round. Roxburgh welcomes back some key players who did not make the trip south last week. Players such as Ben Millar, Jonty McKinnel and Blair van der Voort are available for selection, and rumour has it there is another big signing ahead.

Toko will be simultaneously buoyed and disappointed after its draw with Clutha last week. Both teams will be hungry for their first win of the campaign.

 - Francis Parker 

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