Unbeaten teams open gap at head of the table

Round three of the Southern Region rugby competition produced wins for the three unbeaten teams, which are creating a gap at the top of the table.

Heriot produced yet another convincing win on Friday night, over Clinton in Clinton. The 58-10 scoreline was built on solid work up front and some smart rugby in the outside channels.

Heriot went into halftime 33-0 ahead. Clinton showed what it is capable of in the second half by retaining possession and putting phases together on attack. It scored its first points of the season which will give it confidence.

Heriot scored another five second-half tries but Clinton did offer more on attack than in recent weeks.

Heriot’s pack’ was led well by hooker Dylan Mackenzie and flanker Mark McKenzie.

Fullback Caine Ritchie was a standout. Clinton’s skipper Ross Burnet and prop Glynn Lawrence were the best for the home side.

Clutha Valley showed no signs of a jubilee hangover as it beat Clutha 30-15 in a game dominated by the whistle at Clydevale.

The game lacked continuity as both sides were guilty of coughing up possession and giving away penalties. Valley made the most of the chances given to it, as Thomas Johnson slotted six penalties which was the difference. Clutha scored one more try than Valley and led 10-9 at the half, but its tee kicking let it down.

The score was a fair reflection of the match, as Valley earned the points and left Clutha with some soul searching to do.

Valley props Lachie Gunson and Craig Darling put in solid performances. Forwards Connor Mills and Daniel Miller were Clutha’s best.

West Taieri showed its class yet again with a comfortable 43-10 over Toko in Milton. It was a physical encounter with plenty of big hits and collisions across the field. The first half was a fairly even encounter on the scoreboard but West Taieri attacked for the most part. Dogged Toko defence held West Taieri to a19-5 lead at the break.

The first 20 minutes of the second half was dominated by the travelling Pigs, who scored three tries to put the game to bed. Toko put bodies on the line and tackled well all game but did not offer too much on attack.

Midfielder Luke Turfus and pivot Callum Smeaton scored a brace each for West Taieri and were good going forward.

Prop Lewis Gilbert put in a huge shift in his first match of the season. Toko flanker Dylan Greer had a strong game in the forwards. Jacob Jenkins added impact off the bench, scoring Toko’s two tries.

Crescent had a strong 66-26 win over Roxburgh at Kaitangata. The Coal Miners showed their depth with another solid performance. After a close first half, the home side went into the sheds 26-14 ahead. Roxburgh was playing well.

Crescent ran away with the match in the second half and blew the score out towards the end. Roxburgh gave a very good account of itself and got on the board with a four-try bonus point. Lock Callum Craik was outstanding for Crescent in his debut match.

Craik got through plenty of work and showed he is more than capable at this level. No8 Damian Green and first five-eighth Luc Thomson were others to stand out. Roxburgh will be happy to score its first points of the season and look to move upwards from here.

 - Francis Parker 

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