Wright stars in win over Coast

South Canterbury Herald - - MOTORING - STU PIDDINGTON

A star turn by half­back Wil­lie Wright against West Coast saw South Can­ter­bury re­tain their lead in the Heart­land Cham­pi­onship in Grey­mouth on Satur­day.

Wright scored a hat trick of tries and didn’t miss a shot at goal, land­ing seven straight, in their 45-38 win.

His per­sonal haul of 30 points in a Heart­land game was also a record for South Can­ter­bury.

In form wing Kalavini Leati­gaga also grabbed two tries to take his tally to seven for the sea­son, just one be­hind Wan­ganui’s Ti­mo­cia Seruwalu, and equal with Mid Can­ter­bury’s Maleli Sau.

It was some­what of a roller­coaster ride in Grey­mouth with West Coast in front at half­time, be­fore South Can­ter­bury shot to the lead and then had to hang on at the death.

For West Coast, locks Joshua Man­ning and Isei Le­waqi had strong games and dom­i­nated the li­ne­outs.

Full­back Nick Cum­ming also im­pressed in gen­eral play and with the boot, as he never missed a shot ei­ther, while first five Tom Reekie looks a player who could at­tain higher hon­ours.

The re­sult means South Can­ter­bury have a four-point buf­fer over Buller on the ta­ble but Horowhenua Kapiti are still to play, so are likely to steal back sec­ond spot.

No-one, aside from South Can­ter­bury, can feel safe for a Meads Cup semi-fi­nal spot, as only six com­pe­ti­tion points split sec­ond to eighth and many of the front run­ners have to play each other in the fi­nal two rounds.

In Oa­maru, North Otago climbed back into top four con­tention with a con­vinc­ing 34-12 win over Poverty Bay.

The Old Golds grabbed the bonus point with tries to Petelo Pouhila, Matthew Vo­cea, Aaron Mar­tin and Ju­nior Faka­toufi­fita, while Alex Bradley got the Bay’s only try.

North Otago coach Nigel Walsh was im­pressed with his team’s ef­forts. ‘‘It cer­tainly keeps us in the fight.’’

For North Otago half­back Rob- bie Smith had a very good game as did An­tini Brown out­side him. Up front, props Meli Kolin­isay and Ralph Dar­ling im­pressed.

Veteran mid­fielder Lemi Ma­soe played well as usual, in what was his 100th game for North Otago.

It was also an emo­tional mo­ment for Poverty Bay prop Sione Ngatu, who clocked up his 150th game for Poverty Bay.

PHOTO: KAI SCHWOERER

South Can­ter­bury half­back Wil­lie Wright was the star against West Coast scor­ing three tries.

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