The Magpie Premiers easily accounted for Alhambra Union at Bathgate Park on Saturday winning 39-17.
They picked up a 4 try bonus point to keep their chances alive in the race to the top 4. However they still sit in 5th spot with rivals Kaikorai and Dunedin also winning with bonus points against tough opposition to keep ahead on the table.
It appears the race will go down to the wire with perhaps the last game of the season when Kaikorai plays University A – determining Southern’s playoff hopes, with upcoming matches looking more predictable.
Southern’s dominance in the first half through strong forward play and accurate back play saw the Magpie out to a 27-3 lead. They slackened off somewhat in the second half due to injuries and substitutions to allow all players to receive game time, that took away from their game pattern.
Andrew Sauders who is benefiting from regular game time, Kyle Harris and Adam Knight were a dominant loose trio, and fed off the platform set by the tight forwards.
Josh Walden played well and his slick passing and direction is a key in Southern’s turn around. Bryce Hosie and Josh Ioane both played well and scored 2 tries each. Jono Hayes continues to kick well and brought up 100 points for the season, however a hamstring strain will be a concern, as will the injury to dynamic winger Josh Gordon as the season nears the final stretch.
Alhambra- Union playing in their Alhambra red and black colours, to acknowledge the Trevathan connection with Southern, tried hard and evened the scores in the second half, but didn’t have the fire power up front to compete.
Kaikorai and Dunedin enhanced their prospects of making the playoffs, while Southern and Green Island kept their chances alive.
However, Taieri can get the season review under way a few weeks early after it was beaten 30-22 by Dunedin at Peter Johnstone Park. The defeat has left the 2014 champion in seventh place and 12 points adrift of the top four.
Southern started the season slowly but its 39-17 win against Alhambra-Union has kept it in touch with the top four, and Green Island scored a late try to prevail 32-27 in a tense match against Zingari-Richmond.
Kaikorai was arguably the biggest winner. Its convincing 46-12 win against Harbour was a huge confidence boost.
University A all too predictably thrashed Pirates 97-22.