Per­ci­val penalty on the bell stuns Heart­land champs


DE­FEND­ING cham­pi­ons Wan­ganui were stunned for the sec­ond straight week in the Heart­land Cham­pi­onship go­ing down 40-39 to Mid Can­ter­bury in Ash­bur­ton in a thriller yes­ter­day.

Mid Can­ter­bury stole an un­likely win with a Jared Per­ci­val penalty right on full time, which took his per­sonal points haul to 20 from the boot.

In what was an en­ter­tain­ing en­counter, Mid Can­ter­bury struck early with a try to Chris­tian Vainerere and, by half­time, 55 points had been scored, with the hosts up 31-24.

Mid Can­ter­bury full­back Maleli Sau’s sec­ond ef­fort was a con­tender for ‘try of the sea­son’.

Per­ci­val snatched an in­ter­cept and took off down the field but didn’t have the gas. HIs cross-field kick bounced favourably for Sau and Mid Can­ter­bury were sud­denly out to 31-12.

Two Wan­ganui tries late in the first half to Kaveni Dabenaise and Cameron Crow­ley how­ever nar­rowed the the gap.

A Per­ci­val penalty af­ter the break gave Mid Can­ter­bury a 10 point buf­fer, and one more penalty apiece made it 37-27 be­fore Mid Can­ter­bury was re­duced to 14, af­ter Seta Koroita­mana was yel­low carded.

A sec­ond Dabenaise try with HEART­LAND CHAM­PI­ONSHIP less than 10 min­utes to go gave Wan­ganui the lead but the missed con­ver­sion left the door ajar at 39-37 and Per­ci­val banged a 45 me­tre penalty to steal the win.

Poverty Bay also pulled off a big up­set in Gis­borne, beat­ing West Coast com­fort­ably 36-19 to notch up their sec­ond win in the cham­pi­onship.

It also put a dent in West Coast’s top four as­pi­ra­tions. They sit sev­enth on the ta­ble.

For Poverty Bay, No 8 Sio­siua Moala had a big game while right wing An­drew Tau­at­e­valu also im­pressed with two tries.

Top of the ta­ble South Can­ter­bury man­aged to hang on to beat a tena­cious North Otago 36-29 in Ti­maru, to re­tain the Hanan Shield.

South Can­ter­bury led early 17-3 and had the four-try bonus point be­fore half­time but North DOUG FIELD/STUFF Otago kept com­ing back.

For North Otago, vet­eran cen­tre Lemi Ma­soe was very good, bag­ging two tries, while No 8 Mika Mafi had a big game con­sid­er­ing he had played 79 min­utes for Otago against Auck­land on Thurs­day night.

South Can­ter­bury’s best were open­side Nick Stra­chan and half­back Wil­lie Wright who de­fended very well, while the elu­sive Kalavini Leati­gaga kept up his try scor­ing an­tics on the wing with three more to his tally

Horowhenua Kapiti sliced up East Coast 52-3 run­ning in seven tries in Otaki, all of which were con­verted.

The win saw them to go into sec­ond place alone, two points be­hind South Can­ter­bury and two ahead of Buller and Thames Val­ley.

Hooker David McEr­lane scored three tries.

In West­port, Buller didn’t have it all their own way ei­ther with Wairarapa Bush in it un­til the end be­fore suc­cumb­ing 29-24.

For Buller, lock Rob­bie Bonisch had a huge game while blind­side Luke Wat­son was in ev­ery­thing.

Wairarapa were com­pet­i­tive at the break­down, with flanker Ed­die Cranston a stand­out.

Thames Val­ley kept their top four hopes alive with a high scor­ing 45-36 win over King Coun­try in Te Kuiti.

South Can­ter­bury cap­tain Kieran Coll charges to­wards North Otago half­back Rob­bie Smith in the Heart­land Cham­pi­onship.

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