Rugby: First round losers make up ground

By Peter Thorley

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Hikurangi's Dan Torbridge forces his way forward against Mid Western in his side's 22-16 loss. Photo/Ron Burgin
Hikurangi's Dan Torbridge forces his way forward against Mid Western in his side's 22-16 loss. Photo/Ron Burgin

Wins for three of the clubs defeated in the first round leaves just two sides winless after the second round of the Southern District Premier Rugby Competition.

Kamo, Mid Northern and Mid Western all fashioned wins to cheer up their supporters and relieve the pressure on their coaching staff.

Mid Northern came from behind against Old Boys Marist to record a 36-15 scoreline that was comfortable only towards the end of the match.

Mid Northern coach Milton Going said they had to work hard for their victory. The home side scored two early tries and then went off the boil as Old Boys Marist got into their work, scoring three tries to take a 15-14 halftime lead.

"It was a bit of a worry when they started to get good momentum but we knuckled down and got another try and finally started to look more convincing, but they were a good side and it was tough going," Going said.

The Hukerenui side's set-piece was better than in their opening round loss to Hora Hora and they were able to use the ball to good effect, particularly in the second spell.

Kamo beat the Western Sharks 26-10 on Friday evening at Farmlands Park thanks to a vastly improved team performance.

"We played a lot better than we did against Waipu and played as a team and everyone was talking and communicating well and that was important when the Sharks came back at us in the second half and scored a couple of tries," player-coach Bryce Williams said.

He said the return of Tyler Lansdown to the starting line-up was a big boost for the team as he controlled the side's plays from first-five.

Mid Western got their forwards working well to dominate early against Hikurangi and led 22-3 before the home side were forced to change their game plan and started spinning the ball wide.

Fullback Mike Newman featured as the home side scored two final quarter tries to close the gap to 22-16 before time ran out on their comeback, leaving co-coach Danny Woodcock a relieved man.

"In the last ten minutes in was all pretty close and it might have gone either way, to be honest. Our boys were feeling the heat but they held on," he said.

The front row of WilGriff John, Todd McDowell and Micheal Danks set the platform for the team and helped improve their malfunctioning set-piece from their previous week's loss.

Hikurangi coach Quentin Cherrington bemoaned the lack of propping depth available in the district, with 48-year-old Ed Vercoe packing down for the majority of the second spell.

Waipu's dream start to the season only lasted a week before they were brought back down to earth by a dangerous looking Hora Hora side 44-3 at Caledonian Park.

Now the pressure increases on the two winless sides, Hikurangi and the Western Sharks, to find a winning formula before they find a home at the bottom of the table.

If the clouds of dust hovering over every breakdown at Kaiwaka were par for the course at this weekend's games, it's no longer just the area's farmers but also rugby coaches and managers that are hoping for some decent rainfall to stem the tide of injuries that has beset the opening two rounds.

- Northern Advocate

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