The Premiers beat Zingari-Richmond 60-28 on Saturday in good conditions at Bathgate Park.
After a few weeks of playing ‘conservative’ rugby it was encouraging to see the team moving the ball and running in some good tries. In the first round the Prem’s drew with Zingari 27-27 in what was a bit of an upset. In this second round match the Zingari team started well and scored within a minute, and then led the game 14-7 after 20 minutes. Questions were starting to be asked if Zingari were going to continue to be our bogey team. It was at this point that the foot went on the gas and some quick phase play and wide passing led to multiple tries and the score mounted quickly in Southern’s favour.
The return of Josh Ioane at 1st five gave the backline time and space. Josh challenges the inside defence, he has vision and his accurate long passing game gives space to the outside backs. Josh Gordon on the right wing saw more ball on Saturday than he had in the past 4 weeks, and he showed his speed and strength. Sione Nisa, getting his first start at 2nd five, showed his power and broke the gain line each time he ran the ball, and may have forced his way into the 22 come play off time.
The forwards enjoyed the more open game, and tries to Mike Mata’afa (2) and Joe Weatherall were rewards for good play. Adam Knight and Ryan Thompson continued their recent strong form and are key ball winners in the lineout. Overall it was a good team effort, and allowed some attack to develop before the key matches.
Many of the players, supporters, and Junior Club stayed on to create an exciting atmosphere in the Clubrooms and watched the Highlanders deservedly bring home the Super 15 title. Well done to the boys and we are proud to say Jamie Joseph was (and still is) a magpie in his playing days!
Next week the full Club is back in action after the University holidays. The Premiers take on top of the table Harbour at Bathgate Park, in a game that has meaning but probably not a lot of impact on the final finishing positions.