Mid Canterbury suffer first loss
Mid Canterbury had a forgettable day at the office in Oamaru on Saturday, losing 35-21 to North Otago in week two of rugby’s Heartland Championship.
The Mid Canterbury Hammers did mount a late comeback against a North Otago side which was down to 13 men after two late yellow-cards, but according to cocoach Craig Dunlea, the damage had already been done.
‘‘I’m still trying to work out what went wrong,’’ Dunlea said.
‘‘We started all right but then we gave away a stupid intercept try and it was like it rocked the guys and we never really recovered until we got into the sheds at half time.’’
Dunlea said Mid Canterbury never got into their shapes and patterns.
‘‘We’ve just got to work out our mental application around that side of it and get back in there and carry on,’’ Dunlea said.
‘‘It’s all down to us now and getting the top two inches right, and work on that.’’
The two yellow cards against the Old Golds late in the game gave the Hammers a sniff, landing a penalty and scoring a try, to close the gap but the hosts held on.
For North Otago first-five Dan Lewis had a superb game, scoring 21 points including two tries, while fullback Josh Buchan also played very well, and up front veteran prop Ralph Darling led well.
Mid Canterbury’s standout was fullback Jared Percival, but overall it was a disappointing performance, and Dunlea was hoping his side would learn from it heading into this weekend’s clash against South Canterbury in Ashburton. The Hanan Shield will go on the line in that match.
After two rounds, unbeaten Wanganui and HorowhenuaKapiti are shaping up as the sides to beat with nine points. Buller is currently third on eight points, with South Canterbury on seven, while Mid Canterbury, Thames Valley and North Otago have six points.
Meanwhile, in the South Island premiership, Canterbury Country took on Canterbury Metro and lost 43-36.
Canterbury Country’s tries were scored by Max Lum, Harry Kirk, Tim Murgatroyd, Mark Maitland and Harry Pankhurst, while Brook Retallick landed four conversions and a penalty.
Canterbury Country has the bye this weekend, before taking on Otago Country in Balclutha on September 16.
Christian Vainerere takes on the defence as North Otago beat Mid Canterbury 31-25.