Con­fi­dence gained in Bush de­mo­li­tion

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - MOTORING - ERIN TASKER

A 60-24 win over Wairarapa Bush in rugby’s Heart­land Cham­pi­onship put a smile on Mid Can­ter­bury coach Craig Dun­lea’s face on Sat­ur­day, but only for a while.

It was a good win, but Dun­lea and co-coach James Jowsey know the hard work isn’t done yet, with ar­guably the most suc­cess­ful Heart­land team in re­cent years, Wan­ganui, their next op­po­nent.

Af­ter start­ing their 2017 cam­paign with a win over Poverty Bay, Mid Can­ter­bury fell to con­sec­u­tive losses to North Otago and South Can­ter­bury, so Sat­ur­day’s win over Wairarapa Bush in Master­ton gave them much needed con­fi­dence.

‘‘We left a few points out there too, we could have ac­tu­ally rat­tled it some more, but at the end of the day it was a good re­sult and five points and you can’t ask for much more than that,’’ Dun­lea said.

Dun­lea said it was a team ef­fort, but dou­ble-try scor­ers Willie McGoon and for­mer onecap All Black Re­gan King were strong, as was Seta Koroita­mana in his first start of the sea­son.

‘‘We just lim­ited our silly wee mis­takes and then we fin­ished things off when we got into a good po­si­tion,’’ Dun­lea said.

‘‘It was just good to see the boys en­joy­ing it, they had a smile on their faces.’’

Dun­lea said some of the nine tries Mid Can­ter­bury scored started well within their own half, and they’d now look to build on that form and go into this week­end’s clash with Wan­ganui with con­fi­dence.

South Can­ter­bury didn’t do their neigh­bours any favours on Sat­ur­day though, beat­ing Wan­ganui 21-17, to go to the top of the ta­ble. It was one of two up­sets in the round, with West Coast also beat­ing Horowhenua-Kapiti.

Wan­ganui head to Ash­bur­ton this week­end hurt­ing, but if Mid Can­ter­bury are to earn them­selves a place in the Meads Cup (top six), they can’t af­ford to lose any more games. Af­ter Wan­ganui, Mid Can­ter­bury is away to Thames Val­ley, home to Buller, then away to King Coun­try to fin­ish the round robin.

‘‘Every­one is beat­ing every­one at the mo­ment which is good, but a cou­ple of them have got East Coast, Poverty Bay and Wairarapa Bush in three of their last four games, so three of the bot­tom teams, which will help keep them around the top of the ta­ble,’’ Dun­lea said.

‘‘If we want to get through to the top four, we need to win ev­ery­thing.’’

Mid Can­ter­bury is five points off the top of the lad­der, but only five points sep­a­rate the top eight teams.

Mean­while, Mid Can­ter­bury A lost to South Can­ter­bury De­vel­op­ment 35-7, and the Can­ter­bury Coun­try se­niors didn’t have such a good day ei­ther, los­ing to Otago Coun­try 22-20 af­ter the two sides were even at 8-all at half time.

It was Town v Coun­try day, with Can­ter­bury Coun­try tak­ing on Can­ter­bury Metro across the grades, and the only Coun­try side to win was Coun­try Un­der-48kg, win­ning 27-12.


Mid Can­ter­bury’s Jared Per­ci­val tries to break through the Wairarapa Bush de­fence in Master­ton.

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