West Taieri beats Valley 24-22 to take title

The victorious West Taieri team celebrates after claiming the South Otago premier rugby title in...
The victorious West Taieri team celebrates after claiming the South Otago premier rugby title in Outram on Saturday. PHOTO: SI LEEDS
West Taieri has been crowned Southern Region rugby champion after a 24-22 win over Clutha Valley in a fantastic spectacle of rugby in Outram.

It was a match that could have gone either way, both sides enjoying periods of dominance.

The first 10 minutes were played at a frenetic pace, three tries being scored.

West Taieri opened the scoring through Ben Davidson, before Valley hit back through fellow lock Conrad Williams.

West Taieri winger Lochlan Kennedy was next to score to give the home side a 14-5 lead.

The game quietened, but Valley was given a hand when West Taieri fullback Shea Deans was sent to the sin bin for a cynical foul.

However, only a penalty could be scored in the time Deans was missing.

West Taieri went into the sheds 14-8 ahead.

Clutha Valley enjoyed a strong passage of play at the start of the second half, taking the lead through fullback Brayden Wilson.

Wilson found space out wide to score and then convert the try to put his side ahead by one.

West Taieri came fighting back into the contest and retook the lead through halfback Jackson Reid, along with a conversion and penalty to Callum Smeaton.

The travelling Valley side threw everything at West Taieri for the final moments and did cross the chalk through Williams’ second of the match but the final whistle went shortly after, giving West Taieri the win.

West Taieri was led well by lock Davidson and No 8 Conor Beaton.

Kennedy was best of its backs. Williams was Valley’s best on the park.

Jared Edwards and Jonny Sargent also had strong games.

West Taieri completed an unbeaten season and one it should be proud of.

Clutha Valley has punched above its weight this season and can also be very proud of its efforts.

 - Francis Parker 

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