South Canty forwards get on the ball to quash lighter pack’s maul strategy

The maul in rugby is hardly an artistic amenity but it was used effectively by the South Canterbury forward pack.

It helped South Canterbury to a 24-7 win over North Otago in Oamaru on Saturday.

North Otago’s lighter forwards persisted in creating the maul when in possession, but the stronger South Canterbury eight simply nullified them by tying up the North Otago ball carrier.

South Canterbury coach, and former North Otago coach, Nigel Walsh was more than satisfied at fulltime.

"It was a good win," he said.

"We had a lot to make up after drawing with Mid Canterbury, where we let ourselves down a little.

"But we knew we had some certain areas in the North Otago side that had some holes so the players with a constructive game plan, although we drifted off this at times.

"Simply, it meant to sticking to the game plan and producing points to get some of the silverware back to South Canterbury.

"It worked pretty well and now we’ve got two games against Buller, homer and away, and we have a game against New Zealand Universities, so we had to put a line in the sand today and that was good.

"It’s all about upping our game today."

Walsh did not comment on the fact his side relieved North Otago of the Hanan Shield, the Phil Gard Memorial and the Bill Direen Memorial Trophy.

South Canterbury also has the first leg in a new trophy, the Placemakers Challenge Cup for play between the three Hanan Shield unions.

It was a disappointed North Otago coach, Jason Forrest, who stated that North Otago’s downfall was its inability to build up periods of ball security.

South Canterbury made a positive start when eight minutes into the first half, South Canterbury halfback Theo Davidson set up the move with a well-placed kick and lock Henry Bryce scored for first five-eighth Faalele Iosua to convert.

Six minutes later South Canterbury’s No 8, Sui Kalala, opened up the North Otago defence and centre Pita Siale split the North Otago defence for Iosua to convert, taking his side out to a 14-0 lead.

An Iosua penalty gave his side a 17-0 halftime lead.

Eleven minutes into the second half, flanker Nick Strachan sent second five-eighth Zac Sanders in for a try, which Iosua converted, taking South Canterbury out to a 24-0 lead.

North Otago finally got on the board in the 56th minute, when right winger Sione Kavatoe scored for fullback Josh Phipps to convert from the sideline, giving South Canterbury a 24-7 win.

 - Terry O'Neill

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