South Can­ter­bury top of ta­ble after up­set­ting champs

Nelson Mail - - 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.

South Can­ter­bury stormed back and 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.

They gave away 10 penal­ties in the first half.

For South Can­ter­bury, prop JP Koen, lock Luke Brice and He­mopo played well.

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.

Thames Val­ley also sur­prised with a four-try, 26-7 win over pre­vi­ously un­beaten Buller in Paeroa.

Hay­den Wis­newski’s 50m-plus in­ter­cept try that sunk Buller mid­way through the sec­ond half.

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.

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

PHOTO: JOHN BISSET/STUFF

South Can­ter­bury wing Kalavini Leati­gago scores a bril­liant in­di­vid­ual try against Wan­ganui as his side up­set the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons.

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