Rugby: Southern prevail in high-scoring encounter

Wing Joe Hill and No 8 Simon Knight each bagged a brace of tries as Southern took maximum points with an entertaining 44-38 win over Alhambra-Union at Bathgate Park.

Southern controlled much of the first hour of the game, at the end of which it led 44-19, but Alhambra-Union finished with a flourish to score 19 unanswered points in the last quarter to gain two bonus points.

Both teams scored five tries but Southern showed more urgency when it mattered to retain the Speight's Challenge Shield.

Harry Uffindell and Hill were particularly strong runners on the wing and first five-eighth Ben Patston controlled play well and kicked 14 points.

Simon Knight, son of former Otago captain Richard, had a powerful game from No 8, and deserved his two tries while props Johnny Mason and Michael Mata'afa anchored a strong scrum.

Captain and hooker Ben Pereira was a lively leader for Alhambra-Union, scoring two tries, while prop Scott Manson and blindside flanker Rory Naylor also impressed.

Halfback Tom Dougherty had a promising all-round game and was rewarded with a try, Peter Breen directed play well and Tui Puloka was a hard runner on the wing.

Southern 44 (Simon Knight, 2, Joe Hill, 2, Harry Uffindell, Johnny Mason tries, Ben Patston 4 con, 2 pen); Alhambra-Union 38 (Ben Pereira 2, Tui Puloka, Matt Daley, Tom Dougherty tries, Peter Breen 2 con, 3 pen). Halftime: 22-14. Referee: Rob Wells.


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