Club rugby lead shifts

Central Leader - - Sport - By Scott Morgan

Gram­mar Carl­ton slipped into sec­ond place on the Auck­land pre­mier club rugby com­pe­ti­tion ta­ble be­hind Pon­sonby af­ter a 20-18 loss against Sub­urbs on Satur­day.

The de­feat comes af­ter the side lost 11 play­ers to the New Zealand un­der-20s side, an Auck­land train­ing camp to Queens­land, fam­ily com­mit­ments and in­jury.

Gram­mar Carl­ton coach Bran­don Jack­son says he orig­i­nally ex­pected to have his Auck­land play­ers avail­able for the game.

But he ac­cepts Auck­land train­ing takes pri­or­ity and club rugby some­times has to come “bot­tom of the heap”.

De­spite the loss, which ended a nine game win­ning streak, Jack­son says his side should still have won the match.

“We missed a cou­ple of kicks and tack­les and missed three op­por­tu­ni­ties for tries.

“I’m dis­ap­pointed but not too up­set.”

Jack­son hopes to have his Auck­land play­ers, in­clud­ing key play-maker Lachie Munro, back for next week’s match against Eden-Roskill.

How­ever, with the play­ers ar­riv­ing back from Aus­tralia in the early hours of Satur­day morn­ing, Jack­son is un­sure whether they will be able to take the field.

Mean­while, Pon­sonby coach Si­mon Scott is pleased with his side’s 81-0 vic­tory over East Ta­maki.

“The pleas­ing thing is the zero score,” he says.

“We’ve lacked a bit in defence this year. The key to be­ing suc­cess­ful against other teams is if they don’t score.”

Al­though his side moved into first spot af­ter their latest match, Scott knows they have their work cut out for them in the next three weeks with matches against topeight con­tenders Marist, Waitem­ata and Waitakere.

Te Pa­papa-Mt Welling­ton suf­fered a nar­row loss against Pa­p­a­toe­toe, go­ing down 1613, while Eden-Roskill went down to Univer­sity 31-23.

This Satur­day Pon­sonby face old foes Marist at Lis­ton Park, Eden-Roskill host Gram­mar Carl­ton at Grib­ble­hirst Park and Te Pa­pa­paMt Welling­ton play Teach­ers East­ern at Fer­gus­son Park.

All matches start at 2.45pm.

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