Relief with win over Green Island

The Magpie Premiers tasted success after a few lean weeks with a comfortable, albeit messy, win over Green Island 28-3 at Bathgate Park on Saturday.

After a few lean weeks it was an important victory, as the team couldn’t afford to be beaten by a team mid table and lose further touch with the Top 4. The match ended the first round of the Championship with Southern sitting in 6th spot but only 5 points off the 4th placed team.

While the team continued to make handling errors in attack – the character shown in defence was encouraging. Green Island had put 40 points around Dunedin the week before and were full of confidence. The Magpies were aggressive in defence and shut down all attacks from the Grizzlies, who didn’t get close to scoring a try.

It was a non flowing game due to the young up and coming referee making a lot of infringement rulings, rather than letting the advantage go. The set piece was strong from the Magpies, who had the advantage of all front row players being available – making for a strong bench. The loose trio were prominent in defence, but now have to connect together better in attack, with all 3 being quality ball runners. Kyle Harris at flanker was the pick of the loose forwards, in his second game back from injury.
New Highlanders hooking recruit Hame Faiva, who was surprisingly allocated to Southern, performed well in his first game and showed his devastating tackling style and strong running skills. 

In the backs, enthusiasm couldn’t hide a lack of combination and precision. Bryce Hosie was heavily involved at first five, and Josh Gordon looked powerful at centre and tackled strongly. Unfortunately the backs drifted sideways on the pass and allowed the defence to easily cover them. It will no doubt be a work on this week to straighten the attack and use more dummy runners to cause more questions for the opposition. It was good to see the return of Eroni Sotutu who played the last 20 minutes at Centre and showed some nice touches.

This week the Prem’s takes on a stronger Kaikorai team who sit in 5th place at Bishopscourt – it is another crucial game in the season. A match against a team competing for the 3rd and 4th spot in a sense are worth “double points”.

Other Matches:   

Harbour wrested the Challenge Shield off Taieri with a 36-22 win

The Hawks also collect the Speight’s Jug for winning the first round.

University pumped Kaikorai 62-17 and is in a rich vein of form.

Dunedin was awful but still too good for Pirates, winning 58-13.

Zingari-Richmond showed more resistance this weekend but lost 41-32 to Alhambra-Union.


Results – 14th May

Premiers beat Green Island 28-3
Premier 2s beat Pirates 110-10
Women a bye
Magpie Colts lost to Southland BHS 18-6
Raven Colts a bye
Unicol Colts lost to Taieri 38-12

Mistakes costly in loss to Harbour

The Premiers travelled down to Port Chalmers but couldn’t topple championship leaders Harbour going down 24-17.

It looked like they may escape with a lucky draw when coming within 7 points with 3 minutes to go, however an unforced error while on attack turned over possession and the game was lost.

The teams unforced errors, poor discipline at the breakdown and some soft defence close to the line were the areas that contributed to the loss. Harbour played the game at speed and stretched the Southern team and took four deserved tries. It is the teams 4th loss from five games – and has pushed the team to a lowly 7th position, 9 points off the 4th placed team. 

It is typical of a form slump that passes that used to stick don’t, that kicks bounce the wrong way, and key players get injuries (forwards Ryan Thompson and Mike Mata’afa on Saturday) at inopportune times. Players are trying hard, and some are trying too hard which can go against the game plan. It is now the time for the players to concentrate on their individual performances and standards which will ultimately lead to a better team performance.

Leader of the team flanker Adam Knight continues to set the bar high, and his lineout and defensive work is impressive. Loose forward and former NZ colt Kyle Harris played his first game for the side after being injured for over 18 months and looked classy.

In the backs 2nd five Sean Clementson had a good game, while the unwell Josh Ioane gave his all until subbed. It was great to see (key) injured players Bryce Hosie and Josh Gordon return to the field. The experiment of playing Ryan Tongia at centre to get his hands on the ball more didn’t come off. Tongia needs space for his effectiveness and the team needs to create that.

The season is on a knife edge now, and the next 3 matches against traditional “mid table ” teams is crucial. Green Island will be tough on their home field after a big win over the strong Dunedin team, following them will be Kaikorai and then Zingari. Three wins will be needed.

Summary of other matches (ODT):

A strange round of club rugby.
University A smashed Zingari-Richmond 137-0. The game was called off 10 minutes early as Zingari collapsed under a University blitzkrieg.
It is the highest score recorded since the Otago Daily Times began keeping records in 1976 and in all likelihood the highest ever.

There were more shocks, as Green Island upset Dunedin 43-20 and Kaikorai thrashed Taieri 42-15.

Alhambra-Union snapped its losing streak, with a 40-25 win against Pirates, while Harbour consolidated its spot at the top of the standings with a solid 24-17 victory against Southern.

Results 7th May

Premiers lost to Harbour 24-17
Premier 2 beat Alhambra-Union 52-22
Women lost to University 102-0
Magpie Colts lost to Alhambra-Union 26-13
Raven Colts beat Alhambra-Union 58-15