Rugby: West Coast survive late scare from King Country

By Matt Kersten of the Hokitika Guardian

West Coast survived a late scare to notch their first win of the 2012 Heartland Championship, 27-21 over King Country in Greymouth.

Despite steady rain and a strong breeze at Rugby Park, both sides played an expansive game.

It often led to mistakes, but West Coast found plenty of space out wide and scored twice by making breaks after spreading their attack.

No 8 Rowan O'Gorman grabbed a five-pointer within the first five minutes of the match, created by a Coast break from within their own half, to put the hosts ahead early, while wing Nik Davy secured a bonus point when he dived over in the corner off second five-eighth Sean McClure's burst out wide.

In the first half, King Country could only respond to two Coast tries with a couple penalties.

Following O'Gorman's effort, openside flanker Kevin Curtis threaded lock Robert Gabriel through some weak defence at the 20 minute mark with a well-timed short ball.

O'Gorman also scored West Coast's third try.

King Country finally dotted down in the second half, when they had a furious final 15 minutes to give Coast a fright. First five Sean Cressy was the recipient of a wide ball from an attacking ruck after the visitors camped in their opponents' half. His try was followed by one to replacement back Dean Church after wing Simeli Koniferedi bamboozled Coast's outside backs.

But with the threat of a victory slipping from their grasp, Coast held on in the final five minutes.

West Coast 27 (R O'Gorman 2, R Gabriel, N Davy tries; C Deans pen, 2 cons), King Country 21 (S Cressy, D Church tries; K Strachan 3 pens; Cressy con).

HT: 15-6.

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