Runaway competition leaders Wanganui continued their winning run with a 60-14 win against Thames Valley in the latest round of the Mitre 10 Heartland Championship. Played in ideal rugby conditions at Cooks Gardens in Wanganui, the defending Meads Cup champions got off to a flying start against the visitors and never let up.
The Butcher Boys, as they are known, ran in seven tries in the first forty minutes and took a 52-8 lead into the changing rooms at half time. Their only concern was a lapse in discipline that saw two Wanganui players in the Sin Bin at the same time just prior to the break.
Jamie Hughes and Second Five, Kameli Kuruyabaki scored two tries each while up and coming winger Te Rangatira Waitokia, Tremaine Gilbert and Gavin Thornbury all got one each. Hooker, Hayden Wisnewski scored Thames Valley’s only try in the first half with Beau Hamilton adding the conversion.
The second half was a complete contrast as Thames Valley attacked for long periods and showed some resolve on defence, with each team only scoring one try but it was only academic as the home side remained on target for a home semi final in the Meads Cup following a sixth consecutive win.
Thames Valley can still make the Lochore Cup playoffs but they are running out of games to qualify.
Wanganui’s nearest rivals kept the pressure on the competition leader with South Canterbury beating Horowhenua Kapiti 36-24 in Timaru after being held at 16 all at halftime. South Canterbury is the only team to have picked up a four try bonus point in every match so far this year and is only two points behind Wanganui, in second place. Third place was retained by a plucky Buller side that eked out a two point win against Wairarapa Bush at Masterton, thanks in part, to some fine play by first five, James Lash. Lash set up one try, scored another, kicked three conversions and a 78th minute penalty to steal the points for his side. Mid Canterbury holds fourth place with a 76-22 win over East Coast in Ruatoria while a 4-4 draw between King Country and North Otago did little for the prospects of either team. Poverty Bay was the big mover with a 62-28 win over West Coast. The result pushes Poverty Bay well into reckoning for a semi final berth with two rounds to go.