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The students made a slow start to the season with back-to-back losses. But a convincing 38-10 win over Taieri at Peter Johnstone Park on Thursday afternoon is yet more evidence they are now on the right trajectory.
Southern is back on top of the standings thanks to a 45-19 victory over winless Alhambra-Union at the North Ground.
Magpies outside back Mackenzie Haugh starred with three tries.
Kaikorai prevailed 66-39 against Zingari-Richmond in a try-fest at Bishopscourt to move into third place, while fourth-placed Green Island beat Dunedin 27-6 at Kettle Park.
Harbour had the bye.
Who says the fatties can't win you games?
University's front row squeezed the life out of Taieri's scrum in an awesome display of raw power.
Not sure who deserves the most credit - loosehead Kilipati Lea or the equally impressive tighthead Angus Williams.
It helps when you have locks like Josh Hill and Ben Reidy leaning in as well.
The end result was total scrum domination. Add some flair from dangerous fullback Taylor Haugh and the game quickly slipped away from the home team.
Haugh set up the first try. He ran the ball back from broken play and jigged his way past a couple of defenders.
Hill was on hand to take the offload and made a strong run as well. Several phases later, No 8 Sean Withy crashed over. He played well in his senior debut for the club.
The next try was all about that scrum. University marched Taieri 10m downfield before pouncing and scoring in the left corner to lead 14-3 at halftime.
Haugh weaved his way to the line on an angled 20m run to extend the lead to 24-3.
The contest was more or less over. It became about whether University could get the four-try bonus point, and it did, when captain Jack McHugh intercepted the ball and ran 60m down the left wing.
McHugh was impressive. So, too, was Haugh. But the stars were Lea and Williams, while Josh Casey was the most threatening of the Taieri players.
Mackenzie Haugh's pace proved too much to handle at the North Ground.
The right winger scored a hat trick of tries and set up two more as Southern beat Alhambra-Union 45-19.
He was on the board after five minutes, running 60m off an intercept to take a 7-0 lead.
It took Southern another 20 minutes to strike again, but when it did, it quickly piled on a further two.
Dominic Clapcott regathered his own grubber behind the defence and linked with Paul Tupai to make it 14-0.
Haugh got on the outside to set up Owen Draper minutes later, before brilliantly pulling in a chip down the wing to score his own try.
Levi Emery got the host team on the board immediately after halftime, but Haugh used his pace to hit back straight away.
He broke the line and chipped ahead to allow Tupai to bag his second.
Alhambra-Union battled with two yellow cards in the second half and the Southern forwards asserted their dominance.
However, Alhambra-Union managed to cross through Kevin Vaeluaga, the lock stealing a lineout and scoring after a strong build-up.
Southern again hit straight back, though. Caleb Grace scored from a lineout drive, before Haugh won a foot race on a kick and chase to snatch his third.
This game had it all - three penalty tries, sin binnings, golden oldie scrums and over 100 points.
Zingari-Richmond midfielder Shae Tucker showed great commitment. He flew in from Auckland, arriving 30 minutes before kick-off.
Initially, the match was one-way traffic. Kaikorai jumped out to a 17-0 lead after just 11 minutes in a period of play that included the awarding of the first of three penalty tries - two of which were from scrum penalties.
With Zingari-Richmond's scrum in all sorts of disarray, golden oldie scrums were introduced early in the second half.
But what the Colours lacked at the set piece, they made up for in heart and mobility.
They woke up to turn the tables on the home side and take a 20-17 just minutes from halftime.
But they let the home side off the hook with a second penalty try. Then, from the restart, Kaikorai swept back upfield to score and take a 31-20 lead at halftime.
The call for golden oldie scrums made way for a scoring blitz with both sides featuring in a helter-skelter affair, providing an addition to an entertaining game of rugby.
Kaikorai was well served by its tight five, where Sidney Fidow, Masaki Miorikawa and Petelo Sinamoni featured.
The work from Zingari-Richmond halfback Devin Redfern was impressive behind a pack under pressure.
Green Island 27
This game was closer than the score suggests.
Dunedin had the better of most of the first half. It held a 6-3 lead with 10 minutes to go, and its scrum and lineout were much improved from the previous Saturday.
The Sharks should have scored on the 20-minute mark. They pounded away at the line but a crucial knock-on allowed Green Island to escape.
It was a turning point. Green Island scored twice to take a rather flattering 17-6 lead at the break.
Finn Strawbridge bagged the first try when he broke the line from a turnover and scampered 70m.
The second came after a line break by lock Woody Kirkwood. Flanker Jesse Va'afusuaga crashed over.
Green Island controlled the match and struck late from yet another Dunedin turnover. Kirkwood surged 15m to score.
The defence from both sides, in the main, was outstanding and made for an absorbing spectacle.
Strawbridge and midfielder Ray Nu'u were the difference in the backline. They were sharp and did everything at pace.
No 8 Dylan Nel was the stand-out up front and was well supported by locks Kirkwood and Josh Hayward.
For Dunedin, prop Cam Burrows and locks Mark Grieve-Dunn and Keegan Anderson got through a power of work. The Dunedin backs were disappointing and the kicking was aimless.
Halfback Devon Oliver-Bell was the only highlight with his lightning clearance and indefatigable energy.
University 38 (Sean Withy, Chris Johnston, Taylor Haugh, Jack McHugh, Emeka Ilogu tries; Mike Williams 5 con, pen), Taieri 10 (Cameron Allan-McNeill try; Josh Casey con, pen). Halftime: 14-3.
Southern 45 (Mackenzie Haugh 3, Paul Tupai 2, Owen Draper, Caleb Grace tries; Dominic Clapcott 4 con, Haugh con), Alhambra-Union 19 (Levi Emery, Kevin Vaeluaga, George Win tries; Emery 2 con). Halftime: 26-0.
Kaikorai 66 (Patrick McCurran 2, Jordan McEntee 2, Musaki Midorikawa, Mackenzie Faulks, Sidney Fidow tries, 3 penalty tries; Ben Miller 5 con), Zingari-Richmond 39 (Jacob Turrell 2, Marcel Taani, Willie Time, Shae Tucker; Shaun Driver 4 con, 2 pen). Halftime: 31-20.
Green Island 27 (Finn Strawbridge, Jesse Va’afusuaga, Woody Kirkwood tries; Isaak Te Hiwi 3 con, 2 pen), Dunedin 6 (Evaan Reihana 2 pen). Halftime: 17-6.
Taieri v University
Kilipati Lea 3 (U)
Angus Williams 2 (U)
Josh Casey 1 (T)
Kaikorai v Zingari-Richmond
Petelo Sinamoni 3 (K)
Devin Redfern 2 (ZR)
Jordan McEntee 1 (K)
Alhambra-Union v Southern
Mackenzie Haugh 3 (S)
Paul Tupai 2 (S)
Jermayne Maika 1 (S)
Dunedin v Green Island
Finn Strawbridge 3 (GI)
Dylan Nel 2 (GI)
Mark Grieve-Dunn 1 (D)