In the first game of the 2nd round, the Premiers defeated Kaikorai 17-13 at Bathgate Park on Saturday in fine but cool conditions.
It is an early warning to the high flying Magpie team that the opposition they over ran in the first round will put up a stronger showing the second time around. The Magpies put 50 odd points against the same opposition in round 1, but this Kaikorai team were far more of a challenge.
The Premiers started very well and had 2 converted tries from well constructed play within 20 minutes. However they were held to only 3 points for the rest of the match, while Kaikorai slowly mounted more attack, and were only a metre out from scoring in the dying stages of the match.
The tactic of setting quick ruck ball then attacking the next zone with waiting pods and runners has been working well and was responsible for the 2 early tries, however Kaikorai showed that with an organised defence, that didn’t commit numbers to the ruck, they could spread wide and negate the Southern attack.
The Magpies did very well retaining possession but the lack of penetration caused player frustration that eventually led to errors. They also ended up on the wrong side of the referee who awarded multiple penalties against them, that kept Kaikorai in the game.
The challenge will have done the team plenty of good, and will make them assess other options if a team spreads across the field and shuts down key runners. The teams own defence was the equal of Kaikorai, and conceded only the 1 try, and scrambled well at the end to secure the victory.
Players to shine were forwards Adam Knight and Tim Ferguson, while Mika Mafi’s work rate was again high but he didn’t break the line as he had been doing over previous weeks.
Tai Walden’s return at Centre added punch to the backline, but the backline as a whole lacked some penetration and variation in attack, when fronted with a strong defensive line. Bryce Hosie continued his great form kicking or counter attacking well from fullback. Ben Patston’s long punting again found large territory gains.
The old trojan Warren Moffat played his 199th match, he made a 25m run down the touchline for a try, but was pushed out 1m short of the tryline. We encourage all supporters to get along this Saturday and celebrate Warren’s 200th match against Pirates at Hancock Park. Back at the SRFC Clubrooms at 6pm we will acknowledge Warrens contribution to the Premiers over such a long period (he started in 1998) and have a presentation and social occasion in his honour.
ODT REPORT and other results from the round.
Southern held on to withstand a furious finish from Kaikorai at Bathgate Park today, emerging 17-13 victors.
After a dominant first half in which they scored two outstanding tries to Kaikorai’s none, Southern were unable to put their opponents away, making too many mistakes.
Kaikorai hung in there and began to make inroads in the final 15 minutes, where they made a handful of breaks and began to look dangerous.
The Southern defence stood resolute though and despite conceding one try, they scrambled well to ensure Kaikarai could not find a way through.
With the final play of the game Kaikorai won a penalty and hammered the Southern line, only for the ball to be tied up, allowing the home side to escape with a narrow victory.
In other games Harbour had a convincing 34-10 win over Dunedin, University A beat Alhambra-Union 31-16, Zingari-Richmond beat Green Island 28-17 and Taieri beat Pirates 59-13.