South Can­ter­bury move to top of Heart­land ta­ble

Sunday News - - RUGBY - STU PIDDINGTON

SOUTH Can­ter­bury in­flicted Wan­ganui’s first loss in two years in the Heart­land Cham­pi­onship with a heart-stop­ping 21-17 vic­tory in Ti­maru yes­ter­day.

The de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons dom­i­nated the first half but led only 14-7 at the break and South Can­ter­bury stole the game in the last 10 min­utes with two tries to wing Kalavini Leati­gaga and No 8 Brad He­mopo.

The win lifted South Can­ter­bury to the top of the ta­ble, leapfrog­ging Wan­ganui, Horowhenua Kapiti and Buller, to have a two­point lead at the halfway mark of the cham­pi­onship.

For South Can­ter­bury, prop JP Koen, lock Luke Brice and He­mopo played well, while Leati­gaga was dan­ger­ous every time he was in space.

Wan­ganui’s best were lock Sokon­aia Kalou and first-five Craig Clare, while sec­ond five Ti­moci Seruwalu tried to spark the at­tack.

The up­sets con­tin­ued with West Coast in­flict­ing Horowhenua Kapiti’s first de­feat of the sea­son with a 24-18 win in HEART­LAND CHAM­PI­ONSHIP Grey­mouth.

The Coast­ers led all the way with first-five Tom Reekie and full­back Nik Cum­ming stand­outs. Half­back Jarred Fer­gu­son also had his mo­ments and grabbed two tries in the bonus-point win,.

Thames Val­ley also sur­prised with a four-try, 26-7 win over pre­vi­ously un­beaten Buller in Paeroa. Tight­head prop Ge­orge Le­lenoa and lock Con­nor McVerry led the way for the Swamp Foxes while hooker Hayden Wis­newski also stood out.

The game was held up for 70 min­utes af­ter Thames Val­ley prop Hayden An­der­son broke his leg just af­ter the start.

It was An­der­son’s first game back for Thames Val­ley as a loan player, hav­ing tried his luck with Bay of Plenty.

North Otago and Mid Can­ter­bury both also kept their Meads Cup semi­fi­nal hopes alive with con­trast­ing wins.

The Old Golds edged out the fast fin­ish­ing King Coun­try 28-26 in Oamaru, af­ter scor­ing a try and land­ing a penalty with a King Coun­try player in the bin.

In Master­ton, Mid Can­ter­bury in­flicted a big loss on Wairarapa Bush, run­ning in nine tries to four in the 60-24 win.

De­spite the loss, Wairarapa are only five points off a spot in the Meads Cup semi­fi­nals..

In the bat­tle for the wooden spoon Poverty Bay were too good for East Coast, scor­ing five tries in their 35-15 vic­tory in Gis­borne.

For Poverty Bay, hooker Isa­iah Leech, loose for­ward Sio­siua Moala, full­back Ethine Reeves and wing Brodie Lam all played an in­flu­en­tial part in the win. Re­sults: Thames Val­ley 26 Buller 7, North Otago 28 King Coun­try 26, Poverty Bay 35 East Coast 15, South Can­ter­bury 21 Wan­ganui 17, Mid Can­ter­bury 60 Wairarapa Bush 24, West Coast 24 Horowhenua Kapiti 18.

PHOTO: JOHN BISSET/STUFF

South Can­ter­bury’s Kalavini Leati­gago scores against Wan­ganui.

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