Coast too good for de­pleted Ham­mers

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - SPORT - ERIN TASKER

A 26-17 loss in their fi­nal build-up game and a lengthy in­jured list wasn’t the po­si­tion Mid Can­ter­bury’s coaches hoped to be in a week out from the start of rugby’s Heart­land Cham­pi­onship.

But, it’s not all bad, co-coach Craig Dun­lea said. Hav­ing some key play­ers in­jured for Saturday’s fi­nal pre-com­pe­ti­tion clash against the West Coast in Methven gave some of the side’s younger play­ers a chance to step up, and step up they did.

Too many mis­takes in the first of three thirds played on Saturday put Mid Can­ter­bury on the back­foot early on, but they clawed their way back.

‘‘We cre­ated a heck of a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties but didn’t fin­ish them off, that was the big­gest thing,’’ Dun­lea said.

‘‘There were pos­i­tives; I think our de­fence was very, very good. We got off the line and put them un­der pres­sure. The tries that they got were pretty much all from our mis­takes, like not se­cur­ing the kick-off, drop­ping the ball and things like that.’’

Mid Can­ter­bury start their Heart­land Cham­pi­onship cam­paign against Poverty Bay in Ash­bur­ton on Saturday.

Mean­while, in other rep­re­sen­ta­tive ac­tion, the Tas­man Griffins came from be­hind to beat Can­ter­bury Coun­try 33-24 at Nel­son’s Trafal­gar Park on Saturday.

Tas­man were kept score­less in the first half, with Can­ter­bury Coun­try hold­ing a slen­der 3-0 lead at half time, but Tas­man bounced back to kick-start their South Is­land in­vi­ta­tion se­ries with a win over an un­com­pro­mis­ing Coun­try team.

The lead changed three times dur­ing the sec­ond half as an early try to re­serve hooker Bren­dan Aso­mua-Goodman was coun­tered by two quick Coun­try tries, to winger Kieran Miekle and full­back Mark Mait­land, as the vis­i­tors took a 17-7 lead af­ter just eight min­utes.

Then the Griffins be­gan their resur­gence as tries to winger Fletcher Matthews, re­serve first fiveeighth An­drew Knew­stubb and other winger Tomas Aoake, fi­nally put them ahead 26-17 with 14 min­utes re­main­ing.

A sec­ond try to Mait­land quickly had Coun­try back in touch at 26-24 with three min­utes on the clock, before Aso­muaGood­man struck at the death to seal a hard-earned win.

Next up, Can­ter­bury Coun­try play Otago B at Dun­sandel on Au­gust 25.


Mid Can­ter­bury’s Adam Wil­liamson on the charge has his side went down to West Coast in their fi­nal pre-Heart­land Cham­pi­onship match in Methven on Saturday.

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