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Rugby Report 7-10-2017

Rugby Report 7-10-2017

There will be no Meads Cup play off place for Thames valley in this year’s Mitre 10 Heartland Championship following a 24-17 loss to West Coast at Rugby Park in Greymouth last weekend. The win has moved the South Island team three points ahead of Thames Valley with one round to go. A bonus point for losing by less than points was scant reward for a Thames Valley team that once again dominated the opposition for long periods with little to show on the score board.

Wintery conditions prevailed with constant rain and a strong wind affecting both teams ability to move the ball about with fluency. With the wind behind them, West Coast took the lead inside the first five minutes with a try to Amenatave Tukana which was converted by Nick Cumming. On the quarter hour, Tyrone Keith scored for Thames Valley and Chris Doak kicked the conversion to level the scores. This lifted the visitors and their forward pack shut West Coast out of the game. In the twentieth minute, Thames Valley was awarded a penalty try from an attacking scrum after repeated infringing by the home side. From the restart Thames Valley went back on the attack and continued to put pressure on the home side but could not add to their score. Five minutes out from half time West Coast equalised when David Crouchley scored and Cumming added the extra two points to end the half on even terms. The home side made a good start to the second half and uncovered tries to Brad Tauwhare and Nick Cumming gave them a ten point buffer. Jarrod Goodall came off the bench to kick a penalty with ten minutes to go but the Thames Valley attack could not breach the solid West Coast defence in spite of controlling possession and field position for most of the second forty minutes.

Thames Valley now sits in eighth place on the table and has to win against Poverty Bay to ensure a place in the Lochore Cup play offs in two weeks time. Poverty Bay kept itself in playoff contention with a strong 43-29 win over a disappointing King Country side in Gisborne. Sione Ngatu celebrated his 151st appearance for Poverty Bay with a try in front of his home crowd and helped his team to pick a bonus point for four tries.

South Canterbury maintained their lead at the top of the standings with a 29-20 come from behind win after the visiting Wairarapa Bush team led 17-12 at half time in Timaru. They are three points ahead of Horowhenua Kapiti who recorded a rare win against Wanganui in a championship game after trailing 8-3 at half time at the Levin Domain. A good second half performance saw the home team come back to take the game 15-8. This leaves Wanganui in fifth place and in danger of missing out on a Meads Cup spot this year. Mid Canterbury lost at home against Buller 32-40 but can still make the Meads Cup places with a win next week and North Otago compounded East Coast’s dismal season with a 57-14 win in Oamaru.