Premiers impressive in beating Taieri
The Premiers maintained their unbeaten record this season with a very good performance winning 22-11 against the reigning champions Taieri on Anzac Day at Bathgate Park.
It was Taieri’s first loss of the season (they had a draw against Harbour). It was our first win against the Taieri side in 4 seasons.
The biggest crowd of the season (approx. 500) stood silently as the last post was played before the match, waiting expectantly to see if Southern’s form could continue.
The top of the table game rose to the occasion with an intensity from both teams that was a level up on previous matches this season.
Defence was the key for Southern who continually shut down Taieri attacks and scrambled successfully when the line was breached.
Bryce Hosie playing at first five showed the value of good goal kicking – nailing 6 from 6 including 5 penalty goals. Nathan Cargo scored just before half time to steal the momentum going into half time at 13-5.
The second half was evenly contested, however Southern never looked like conceding the lead.
Mika Mafi at no 8 again showed his form and was the best player on the paddock and edged the Taieri captain and Otago incumbent no 8 Charlie O’Connell. His strong runs were matched by his impressive tackling. Halfback Josh Walden celebrated his 50th and blazer match with a controlled game at halfback.
The aftermatch speeches acknowledged the Trophy being played for with Ian Stevens outlining the impressive record of Roy Nieper and why the trophy was started. Both captains spoke very well, with O’Connell acknowledging the freedom that we take for granted after the sacrifices those before us gave on Anzac Day. He also admitted it was Taieri’s best performance of the season.
The last 3 weeks have shown the Magpies have the ability to be a championship side, the key now is to maintain the level set – while having some luck with injuries!
Otago Daily Times Report:
The old rugby ball can bounce in seemingly any direction but luckily for Southern winger Jono Hayes, it sprang his way.
He passed to centre Nathan Cargo, who dotted down just before the halftime break to give his side a 13-5 lead against defending champion Taieri.
Bryce Hosie converted but captain Tei Walden deserves the bulk of the credit. He intercepted a loose pass from Josh Casey and made a smart offload to Hayes, who booted it upfield and chased hard.
It was the turning point in a very competitive fixture at Bathgate Park.
Casey fumbled shortly after the break, which gave Southern the opportunity to sweep on to attack. Taieri infringed and Hosie kicked the first of three second-half penalties – five in total – which helped keep his side in front.
Earlier, it appeared as if Taieri might pick up the win. It scored in the opening minute when fullback Ben Miller spotted prop Warren Moffat defending on the outside and ran around him to score in the corner.
The Eels also finished the game strongly. They pinned Southern in its own half for most of the final 10 minutes and went searching for a second try. Only some resolute defence prevented a second try being scored