South Can­ter­bury up­set cham­pi­ons

Manawatu Standard - - SPORT - STU PIDDINGTON

South Can­ter­bury in­flicted Wan­ganui’s first loss in two years in the Heart­land Cham­pi­onship with a heart-stop­ping 21-17 vic­tory in Ti­maru.

The de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons dom­i­nated the first half but led only 14-7 at the break and South Can­ter­bury stole the game in the last 10 min­utes with tries to wing Kavavini Leati­gago and No 8 Brad He­mopo.

The win lifted South Can­ter­bury to the top of the ta­ble, leapfrog­ging Wan­ganui, Horowhenua Kapiti and Buller to open up a two-point lead..

South Can­ter­bury’s de­fence proved too tough for Wan­ganui to break, while the vis­i­tors’ ill

dis­ci­pline saw them heav­ily pe­nalised, giv­ing away penal­ties 10 in the first half.

The up­sets con­tin­ued with West Coast in­flict­ing Horowhenua Kapiti’s first de­feat of the sea­son with a 24-18 win in Grey­mouth. The Coast­ers led all the way with first-five Tom Reekie and full­back Nik Cum­ming stand­outs.

In the for­wards Troy Tauwhare played strongly in his 50th ap­pear­ance while lock Lawrence Babe made a big im­pres­sion in his last game be­fore head­ing to Hong Kong to take up a pro­fes­sional con­tract. Thames Val­ley also sur­prised with a four-try, 26-7 win over pre­vi­ously un­beaten Buller.

Tight­head prop Ge­orge Le­lenoa and lock Con­nor Mcverry led the way for the Swamp Foxes while hooker Hay­den Wis­newski also stood out.

The game was held up for 70 min­utes after Thames Val­ley prop Hay­den An­der­son broke his leg just after the start.

North Otago and Mid Can­ter­bury both kept their Meads Cup semi­fi­nal hopes alive with con­trast­ing wins.

The OID Golds edged out fastfin­ish­ing King Coun­try 28-26 in Oa­maru, after scor­ing a try and land­ing a penalty with a King Coun­try player in the bin.

In Master­ton, Mid Can­ter­bury in­flicted a big loss on Wairarapa Bush, run­ning in nine tries to four in the 60-24 win. For Mid Can­ter­bury, Wil­lie Mc­goon and for­mer All Black Re­gan King scored two tries each.

In the bat­tle for the wooden spoon, Poverty Bay proved too good for East Coast, scor­ing five tries in win­ning 35-15.

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