Rugby: Kaikorai, Dunedin boost playoff hopes

Kaikorai No 8 Paul Grant takes the ball at a lineout at Bishopscourt on Saturday while Harbour...
Kaikorai No 8 Paul Grant takes the ball at a lineout at Bishopscourt on Saturday while Harbour lock James Piho (right) also flies high. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Kaikorai and Dunedin enhanced their prospects of making the playoffs, while Southern and Green Island kept their chances alive.

However, Taieri can get the season review under way a few weeks early after it was beaten 30-22 by Dunedin at Peter Johnstone Park.

The defeat has left the 2014 champion in seventh place and 12 points adrift of the top four.

Southern started the season slowly but its 39-17 win against Alhambra-Union has kept it in touch with the top four, and Green Island scored a late try to prevail 32-27 in a tense match against Zingari-Richmond.

Kaikorai was arguably the biggest winner.

Its convincing 46-12 win against Harbour was a huge confidence boost.

University A all too predictably thrashed Pirates 97-22.

Southern                       39
Alhambra-Union           20

The Southern loose forwards dominated the breakdown to pave the way for a commanding 39-17 win over Alhambra-Union at Bathgate Park.

The Magpies took control midway through the first spell and scored three tries to lead 27-3 at the break.

Two more tries were added in the second spell.

The loose trio of Andrew Sanders, Adam Knight and Kyle Harris recycled quick ball and did their bit as part of the Southern defensive screen.

Prop Mike Mata'afa was the kingpin of the powerful Southern scrum.

Southern played with more control and the passing of the backline was precise.

This created gaps in the Alhambra-Union defence.

The best Southern backs were five-eighths Bryce Hosie and Josh Ioane who each scored two tries.

Ioane was unstoppable inside the 22m.

Halfback Josh Walden's quick and accurate passing gave the backline space to break the defensive line while wing Jono Hayes kicked five goals to reach 100 points for the season.

Alhambra-Union expended plenty of energy but its attack lacked cohesion.

Pacy fullback Poasa Cama scored his side's first try in the second spell.

Lock Ryan Dawson made eight clean lineout takes and No8 Harley Iraia made ground with the ball.

Prop Warren Moffat reached a significant milestone when he played his 209th premier match to equal the Southern club record set by Luke Herden in 2012.

Kaikorai             46
Harbour             12

Outside backs Tony Ensor and Matt Jones and a strong performance from the forward pack helped Kaikorai retain the Speight's Challenge Shield and secure a bonus-point victory over Harbour at Bishopscourt.

Although some of Kaikorai's passing from the midfield was indifferent at times, the back three remained constant threats.

Ensor, Jones and super sub Sean Conner proved a lethal mix.

Conner combined with Ensor, for arguably one of the tries of the season.

Jones, who began the match having scored 84 points this season, amassed a further 16 in this match, to become just the third player in the Dunedin premier competition this year to break into three figures.

While Ensor's two tries takes his points tally to 90, it will be a rare feat indeed, should two players from one club make the 100 points club for the season.

But no praise could be too great for the Kaikorai pack in which the loose forward trio of Paul Grant, Slade McDowell and Lee Allan thrived on the commitment from the tight five.

Grant, Blair Tweed and Pita Sinamoni received good service from the lineout throws of hooker Lachlan Landels.

Harbour was well-served by its captain and lock Ben Whale, along with front rowers George Bower and Sekonaia Pole.

University                97
Pirates                     22

There have been plenty of centuries scored at the University Oval but not this weekend.

University came close, scoring 15 tries in a 97-22 rout of the struggling Pirates side.

It was not the polished performance University has produced in recent weeks, and defensively the students were a tad laissez faire. Perhaps that was to be expected given the nature of the game.

Pirates did a lot less tackling, though. Actually, it did a lot less tackling than the scorers did counting.

The visiting side did have some bright patches. It managed to score four tries and banked a meaningless bonus point for that effort.

Halfback Jonathan Ruru cleared the ball nicely and looks to be a good find. Fullback Sam Shuker was another who impressed.

But they both spent a lot of time standing behind the tryline watching Fletcher Smith line-up another conversion.

Smith knocked eight of them over and bagged three tries in a 31-points haul which enabled him to lift his season tally to 213 points.

He is quite a talent but winger Fa'asiu Fuatai stole the limelight with four tries. He had too much pace for the Pirates defence and was also able to step his way to the tryline when he had plenty of would-be tacklers in front of him.

Flanker Dillon Hunt also had a storming game and scored two tries for his enterprise.

Dunedin               30
Taieri                    22

Dunedin started the game at Peter Johnstone Park with vim and vigour and field position knowing a loss would severely dent its chances of making the four.

All the good work early was undone when midfielder Loius Tili threw an ill-conceived skip pass which Taieri winger Glen Beadle latched on to and ran it in from 70m.

Dunedin went straight back on to attack and winger Henry Scott sliced though and put No8 Morgan Reedy over out wide and cut the lead to two.

But the Dunedin attack again threw an intercept pass, to Beadle this time, from first five-eighth Scott Eade and he ran it in from 50m.

Dunedin came back when hooker Sam Anderson Heather put flanker Hame Toma away on a 50m run to the line.

Dunedin started the second spell well and its scrum dominance led to a try to lock Mark Grieve-Dunn. Eade then kicked a penalty halfway through the second half.

Taieri was not done and edged its way back into Dunedin territory and eventually made space for winger Mitchell Scott to go over out wide and tie the game with 14 minutes left.

Dunedin was not to be denied and an Eade penalty and a try out wide to replacement winger Shelford Meads after turning down a kickable penalty gave it the win and a bonus point.

Anderson Heather was a colossus in the first spell but he aggravated an ankle problem and was replaced at the break.

Grieve-Dunn was a tower of strength with his innumerable carries and was well supported by Eliot Adamson, Donald Brighouse and livewire flanker Hame Toma.

For Taieri, No8 James Lentjes was far and away his side's best player with his huge defence and he was glued to the loose ball.

Winger Scott was the most dangerous player on the field with his elusiveness and pace.

Green Island32Zingari-Richmond27Highlanders prop Ross Geldenhuys has made a habit of scoring tries for Green Island this season.

He barged his way over for three against Alhambra-Union last month and scored another two at the weekend, including the match-winner against Zingari-Richmond at Montecillo.

The game got off to a hectic start, as both sides threw the ball around. Green Island opened the scoring with a penalty.

Zingari-Richmond replied when Chris McNoe scored the first of his three tries. Geldenhuys crashed over in the corner to put his side back in front but the home side dominated the next 20 minutes.

First five-eighth Marty Banks started to call the shots and veteran midfielder Neil Brew got across the line to give the Colours a 15-8 lead at the break.

Green Island's big pack got into the ascendancy in the second spell.

Second five-eighth Sam Eriepa spotted a gap and scored and, from the kick off, Jackson Hemopo busted through and added another five-pointer for his side.

The forwards kept rumbling the ball up field and Ben Lang went over to give Green Island a 27-20 lead.

Zingari rallied and McNoe scored in the corner to complete his hat trick.

Thomas Johnson nailed the conversion to level the scores.

With three minutes to go, Green Island was hard on attack and battering away at the line.

That man Geldenhuys had the final say, crashing over for a try to seal the win which has helped keep his side in playoff contention.

Add a Comment