Mid Can­ter­bury win the Lo­chore Cup

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - MOTORING - ERIN TASKER

Mid Can­ter­bury thumped West Coast 47-15 to claim rugby’s Heart­land Cham­pi­onship Lo­chore Cup on Satur­day, de­spite play­ing most of the fi­nal in Methven with only 14 men.

In an in­cred­i­ble start to the match, Mid Can­ter­bury full­back – and Heart­land Cham­pi­onship top try scorer – Maleli Sau was sent off af­ter just three min­utes, for a high tackle on West Coast sec­ond­five Lo­gan Heath, and barely a minute later he was joined on the side­line by his cap­tain Jack­son Don­lan, sin­binned for a de­lib­er­ate knock down. The news got even worse for the home crowd, with that knock down deemed to have stopped a cer­tain try, so a penalty try was awarded and sud­denly West Coast had a 10-0 lead.

But only hav­ing 13 men for 10 min­utes didn’t ham­per Mid Can­ter­bury, as they ran in two tries to take the lead, the first scored by Tom Han­ham-Carter and the sec­ond by Chris­tian Vainerere.

The Jarred Per­ci­val con­ver­sion and a penalty soon af­ter gave Mid Can­ter­bury a 15-10 lead, be­fore Vainerere again got into the ac­tion, pop­ping the last pass out to Wil­lie McGoon who crossed for his side’s third try of the day.

Isei Le­waqai crossed for the Coast­ers to nar­row the gap to 22-15, be­fore a penalty and long range drop goal by Per­ci­val made it 28-15 at the break.

Af­ter an ac­tion packed firsthalf, the first 20 min­utes af­ter the break was vir­tu­ally all West Coast, but it was all for no re­ward. Mid Can­ter­bury’s de­fence held strong and once they did get back down the other end of the field, they made it count, with Seta Koroita­mana cross­ing for his side’s fourth try, off the back of a mas­sive Mid Can­ter­bury scrum.

Five min­utes later, Koroita­mana’s sec­ond try – set up by a pow­er­ful run by McGoon – put the re­sult beyond doubt.

Just to rub salt into the wound, West Coast’s Re­gan Stan­ton be­came the third card re­cip­i­ent of the day, spend­ing the fi­nal 10 min­utes sit­ting on the side­line, be­fore re­place­ment Mid Can­ter­bury back Dan Fransen scored the fi­nal try of the match.

Mid Can­ter­bury cap­tain Don­lan said his side played with heart; heart that kept them in the game and gave them be­lief when they only had 13 play­ers, and heart that led to im­pres­sive scam­per­ing de­fence to deny West Coast any points in the sec­ond half.

KAI SCHWOERER

Mid Can­ter­bury cap­tain Jack­son Don­lan and his team mates cel­e­brate with the Lo­chore Cup.

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