One-sided contests the story of wet weekend

Harbour first five-eighth Logan Allen is tackled by Southern No8 Mika Mafi at Bathgate Park on...
Harbour first five-eighth Logan Allen is tackled by Southern No8 Mika Mafi at Bathgate Park on Saturday. Also pictured are (from left) Southern prop Mika Mata'afa (on the ground), Harbour front rower Abraham Pole, Harbour midfield back Hemaua Samasoni, Southern lock Axel Hohneck, Harbour hooker Austin Atiga and Harbour second rower Sione Misiloi. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Harbour brushed aside Southern 39-0 in the mud at Bathgate Park to consolidate top spot.

But the big mover was Taieri. It beat Kaikorai 28-12 at Peter Johnstone Park to move into third place.

Green Island is in second. It accounted for Zingari-Richmond 29-10 in an uninspiring match at Miller Park.

University was too good for Dunedin at Kettle Park. Its 29-7 win was good enough for it to move to fourth equal with Kaikorai.

Harbour 39 Southern 0

Harbour 39. Southern 0.

Says it all, right?

Actually the Magpies had a small edge in the scrums. They had the better of the lineouts.

But they really dominated in silly mistakes.

Both sides coughed up ball. It was that kind of day.

The conditions were wet. The surface was greasy. It is not a great recipe for running rugby.

But Southern's tactical kicking game belonged a couple of grades down.

The general idea of kicking for touch is to get it across the sideline - not the dead ball line or into the fullback's hands.

It was a poor kick which created the first scoring opportunity.

The Hawks spun it quickly to the left to set up a one-on-one for Mone Palu.

He bumped his opponent off a little too easily.

The only other points in the half came from the boot of Logan Allen.

Harbour led 8-0 at the break and the game was in the balance.

But the Hawks were more accurate when it counted.

Centre Aleki Morris grabbed two tries. Openside flanker James Tomkinson also got on the scoreboard.

He was a terrier over the ball.

His effort was perhaps best captured by a stunning play at the end.

Southern had a 5m scrum.

The ball got hooked hard and scooted out the back.

Tomkinson peeled off and won the drag race to the ball.

The Hawks quickly swung it to the left. Palu got clear and scored a tremendous try.

Green Island 29 Zingari-Richmond 10

Green Island will be happy to be back on the front foot at scrum time and on the right side of the score after a couple of tough weeks.

But the 29-10 win against Zingari-Richmond would make for a short highlights reel.

Winter officially arrived on Saturday, and on cue so did some poor weather.

The city's fields will start to soften and that will be a big challenge for Green Island.

The Grizzlies have a smaller pack and compensate by playing an expansive brand of rugby. That game plan may need a decent tweak in the weeks to come.

But in the meantime the former perennial battlers are in second place and deserve their spot in the top four.

Openside flanker Jesse Va'afusuaga had an outstanding game. He was strong over the ball and carried it into contact with real purpose.

He was part of a dominant loose forward trio which was missing Otago No8 Dylan Nel. He is out for three weeks with a jaw injury.

Impressive goal kicker and elusive outside back Isaak Te Hiwi continues to impressive in his rookie season at premier level.

He scored two tries. He beat four tacklers to score one of them.

He is a nicely balanced athlete with a good burst of pace.

Zingari-Richmond stalwart Chris Bell was the best for the Colours. He scored the side's only try.

Taieri 28 Kaikorai 12

A first half onslaught set Taieri up for a four-try bonus point victory against Kaikorai at Peter Johnstone Park.

With Kaikorai struggling in the heavy underfoot conditions, an unforgiving Taieri side pounced.

The Eels scored at a point-a-minute, with its four tries and 28 points all coming inside the first 28 minutes.

Kaikorai went to its bench at the 30-minute mark and began to get some sort of grip on the game. It held the home side scoreless for the remaining 50 minutes.

Kaikorai was proactive with its possession but could not find a way around Taieri's structured defensive pattern.

The visiting pack started to take more control up front with the early inclusion of its bench players. Sam Wyber made an early impact at hooker to help turn the tide. His high work rate resulted in him scoring a try early in the second half. And his added strength to the front row played a part in a penalty try from a scrum close to the Taieri line.

To its credit, Taieri regrouped to counter a resurgent Kaikorai with some outstanding defence.

The loose forward trio of Nick Henderson, Alexander Niedzwiecki and Sam Fischli combined with midfielders Kori Rupene and Will Ngatai to form a defensive wall.

The Taieri midfield played a key role in it scoring in the opening minutes through first five-eighth Corey McKay, while in the tight, props Brady Robertson and Kieran O'Sullivan featured in broken play.

University 29 Dunedin 7

Dunedin turned over the ball from the kickoff and spent the next five minutes defending its line before Varsity midfielder Emeka Ilogu crashed over for the converted try. This was to be the pattern throughout the game.

Dunedin played in the tempestuous elements in the first spell but managed to control a lot of territory and possession; however, turnovers continued to haunt it. The side inexplicably kicked when controlling possession and often found themselves losing 70-80m of hard-won territory. More confusing still was the home side losing six lineouts in the spell by continuing to call to the back in a gale.

University scored late in the spell from another turnover when hooker Ricky Jackson went over close to the posts to give it a 17-point lead at the break.

Dunedin used the elements to camp on the Varsity line early in the second spell, and finally No8 Mark Grieve-Dunn burrowed over from close range to cut the lead to 10, seven minutes into the half.

Dunedin wanted to attack but with an injury to flyhalf George Witana and the subbing of Highlander Josh McKay, it was left with a very inexperienced Colts backline on the field, and it squandered numerous chances.

University fullback Taylor Haugh then struck and won the game when he latched on to a turnover 70m out and with pace and a deft kick-and-chase put the game beyond Dunedin's reach.

Close to fulltime, newly signed Otago prop Angus Williams went over from a lineout to give his side the bonus point and leave Dunedin wondering where it all went wrong.

For the victors, Haugh was the game's best back. Emeka Ilogu was powerful in the midfield and winger Patrick Atkinson was strong out wide. No8 Henry Bell was University's best forward and contested strongly in the loose.

Grieve-Dunn was his normal powerful self on the carry. Jamie Mowat tackled himself to a standstill for Dunedin and props Sepa Vaka and Teague McElroy were good up front.

 - ODT rugby writers 

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