Haugh instrumental in University's big win

University centre Matt Faddes celebrates scoring a try with team-mates Patrick Atkinson (left)...
University centre Matt Faddes celebrates scoring a try with team-mates Patrick Atkinson (left) and Graham Urquhart during a premier game against Harbour at the University of Otago Oval on Saturday. PHOTO PETER MCINTOSH
University pumped Harbour 53-0 in an impressive display.

Fullback Taylor Haugh dotted down just once but played a major role in the Hawks' demise.

Kaikorai scored 10 converted tries to dispatch Alhambra-Union 70-14. That was quite a statement, as well.

Taieri continued its good form with a comfortable 54-7 win against Zingari-Richmond at Montecillo, while Green Island retained the Challenge Shield with a 36-20 win against Southern.

University 53 Harbour 0

Taylor Haugh.

That is the only available answer for how University managed to thrash Harbour 53-0 at the University of Otago Oval on Saturday.

Haugh was functioning on a different level to everyone else. He only managed one try himself but he had a hand in most of the seven others.

Every time he touched the ball something magic happened.

He really does possess an unearthly ability to ghost into space. And when there was no way through he would grubber the ball ahead and gather it clean.

That is how he bagged his try. It was a truly marvellous piece of skill which he repeated late in the game.

He was pulled down that time but it was no less impressive.

Flanker Jack McHugh had a mighty first half, first five-eighth Mike Williams drilled five conversions and a penalty and Matt Faddes scored three tries. But Haugh engineered a tremendous victory against one of the best defensive sides in the competition, and a team which has set the benchmark this season.

Harbour did seem to get the worst of the refereeing decisions. And 15 minutes into the game first five-eighth Logan Allen left the field with his right arm in a sling.

He looked to have perhaps dislocated his shoulder. In Allen's absence, Harbour lacked direction.

And the big Hawks pack was not able to lure University into a melee up front as it might have hoped. Lock Joketani Koroi had a strong game in a losing effort, though.

Green Island 36 Southern 20

Green Island will breathe a sigh of relief.

No-one wants to start the game underneath the posts talking about the 7-0 start you have just given the opposition.

The Grizzlies conceded on the stroke of halftime too. That left them trailing Southern 17-14.

But with the Challenge Shield, and more importantly valuable competition points, riding on the outcome of the next 40 minutes, Green Island rallied to win 36-20, much to the delight of the Miller Park faithful.

It was a big win in the context of the season. You can probably put a line through Southern. The Magpies' semifinal prospects look imaginary although a mathematician may argue the point.

Green Island, however, banked a valuable four-try bonus point win and is in third place with 45 points.

The game got off to a terrible start for the home side. Green Island kicked off and Southern pivot Dominic Clapcott chipped ahead, scooped up the ball and Southern went more or less the length of the field to score.

Flanker Brad Horne got the five-pointer and Mackenzie Haugh, who had a quality game, converted from close to the sideline.

Green Island responded with tries to front-rowers Jake Fowler and Peter Mirrieless but Southern scored through Mika Mafi to take a three-point lead into the break.

Southern copped a couple of yellow cards in the second spell and Green Island was able to pull away. Midfielder Raymond Nu'u was solid on defence and Fowler was dynamic up front, while Haugh was Southern's best.

Kaikorai 70 Alhambra-Union 14

Kaikorai set the tone with three converted tries in 10 minutes.

Poor old Alhambra-Union never had a chance after that.

The Broncos held their own in the set pieces but could do little else right.

They did manage two first half tries. But Kaikorai scored five each half. And Ben Miller produced a flawless display with the boot, drilling all 10 conversions.

Otago loose forward Slade McDowall had an epic game. He was often first to the breakdown and showed a lot of strength over the ball.

He did not miss his defensive targets and got across the line for a try to capped off a wonderful match.

Matt Jones slotted into centre and enjoyed his stint in the midfield. He nabbed three tries.

Highlanders replacement winger Jordan Highland scored a brace, while winger Jordan McEntee celebrated his 50th senior game for the club with a try.

All in all, it was rather good day for Kaikorai with one small caveat - Green Island, University and Taieri all won.

The Demons picked up the maximum five points but remain just outside the top four.

AU is anchored at the bottom of the standings with one win from 11 games.

The side has been competitive up front but posting points has been the biggest challenge. And defensively AU has conceded more points than the other eight teams in the competition.

Taieri 54 Zingari-Richmond 7

Taieri took control in the second quarter to go on and score eight unanswered tries to record a 54-7 bonus point victory over Zingari-Richmond at Montecillo.

The home side dominated proceedings in the opening 20 minutes, scoring through lock Conrad Williams after just two minutes.

It then appeared as if it would score again, but let itself down and lost momentum through being penalised deep inside the Taieri half. These breaches of discipline proved costly for the home side, and laid the platform for a scoring blitz by the visitors.

Although Taieri, too, had its share of ill-discipline it was able to muster up in defence, particularly in midfield where the combination of Matt Whaanga and Will Ngatai, along with the covering abilities of the Taieri loose forward trio of Nick Henderson, Alexander Niedzwiecki and Sam Fischli, was quick to shut down any threat posed by the home side.

Niedzwiecki certainly made his presence felt both on attack and in defence, while the Taieri tight five proved a powerful combination at the breakdown and in phase play, playing a key role in Whaanga scoring a hat-trick of tries. It also disrupted a Zingari-Richmond scrum minutes out from the break, forcing a tight-head from which Henderson scored. It then found an extra gear when Taieri was reduced to 13 men for the final eight minutes.

Matt McCormick led by example for the home side, playing an inspirational role ad working tirelessly throughout. Others to feature for the home side were hooker Jacob Turrell, prop Jesse Muir, midfield back Keenan Masina and fullback Chris McNoe.

 - ODT rugby writers 

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