First victory for Northern over Southern

The Northern Warriors grabbed the spoils in the annual battle between north and south in southern region rugby over Easter weekend.

The crowd at Kaitangata was treated to a fantastic match for the Caelib Edwards Memorial Cup.

The Warriors won 33-26 over the more fancied Southern Battlers after being 12-7 ahead at the break. This is the first time the Warriors have won the contest since its inception in 2016.

The Northern side started well and took control of territory and possession from the start.

The Warriors opened the scoring when hard-running midfielder Jonny Sargent spied a gap and ran in unopposed. After the successful conversion, the Southern side hit back almost immediately, second five-eighth Angus Mitchell scoring after a nice build-up.

The Warriors continued their dominance and were rewarded with another try midway through the half to flanker Jonty McKinnel.

The Southern Battlers started the second half well.

The passes started to stick, and they kept the ball in hand. The Battlers upped the tempo of the game and chose to tap penalties instead of using their shaky set piece.

They made metres through the middle and took the lead with tries to backs Nico Burgess and Tyler Bichan.

The Warriors kept their cool and made the most of possession when they had it.

Halfback Ethan Jane scored to even the scores up with 20 minutes left. Both benches were being used to great effect.

The Warriors took the lead again after some more solid possession.

No 8 Kieran Calteaux crossed handy to the posts to put his side ahead.

The Battlers' home crowd sensed the worst but were given a boost when utility back Damon Clement scored in the corner to bring the game within two points with the kick to come.

Nico Burgess slotted the kick from the sideline to even the score up yet again.

In the dying seconds the Warriors had the ball on halfway and mounted one last attack. The ball was thrown through several pairs of hands before it landed in the hands of Warriors winger Arnold Dinh who scored the winning try.

The conversion was successful, and the Warriors had their first taste of victory.

The Northern loose forward trio of Liam Davies, McKinnel and Calteaux were immense - getting through a mountain of work and were the difference between the two teams.

The platform was set up front by captain Ben Millar and fellow prop Max Chabert. Sargent ran well all day while Louie Pengelly and Josh Botting added plenty of impact and cool heads off the bench.

Prop Daniel Miller was good for the Battlers.

He ran well with the ball and did not shy off on defence. Cole Birse and Ross Burnet were also sharp. Mitchell was dangerous while Bichan looked solid in his first game back from injury.

 - Francis Parker

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