Southern lose to Taieri

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The Premiers lost to Taieri at Peter Johnstone Park on Saturday 32-16 in fine but cool conditions.

Taieri got off to the better start scoring two unconverted tries before the Magpies hit back with a try to Mike Mata’afa from a lineout drive.

At halftime Taieri led 15-10, but despite Taieri looking the more dangerous team, Southern were still in the game, and early in the second half started to dominate the Taieri pack particularly at scrum time.

They shunted Taieri off the ball at will with Sam Pene, Mike Mata’afa and Hisa Sasagi scrummaging well. A sustained period of pressure on the Taieri goal line forced Taieri into conceding penalties which were coolly converted by Jono Hayes to take the score to 16-15 with 20 minutes to play.

The turning point in the match came from another attacking 10m scrum which Southern decided to run instead of maintaining absolute dominance with the drive; they turned over the ball allowing Taieri to clear, and from the resulting lineout a mix up in the backs saw the ball dropped and kicked through by Taieri to score from 60m out. Another error minutes later again saw Taieri take advantage and score another try and the game was over with 10 minutes to play.

For Southern the tight forwards operated well, and Kyle Harris was prominent in the loose. In the backs the midfield of Josh Gordon and Paul Tupai individually looked dangerous but the backs combinations were not gelling, and they struggled to create opportunities as a unit. Gordon had a try all but scored from long range but the ball was knocked from his hand when diving for the line. Jono Hayes kicked well to score 11 points.

Taieri 32 (Josh Larsen, Glen Beadle, James Wilson-Bishop, Marc Rooney, Vinnie O’Connell, Kori Rupene tries; Brodie Flannery con), Southern 16 (Mike Mata’afa try; Jono Hayes 3 pen, con). Halftime: 15-10.

The team has the bye on Saturday and they will be hoping that results go their way to stay in touch with the leaders – Taieri and University A. They will play Kaikorai at Bishopscourt on Sat 28th April at 3pm.

The Magpie Colts will play Southland Boys HS on ANZAC day at 1.30pm at Bathgate Park.