Wright stars in win over Coast
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.
South Canterbury halfback Willie Wright was the star against West Coast scoring three tries.