By our Rugby Reporter
CLUTHA Valley remains unbeaten at the end of the first round of the Southern Region competition.
The Condors fought off a strong challenge from Crescent last Saturday to win 23-5 at Kaitangata.
Valley dominated the first half attacking with purpose, scoring nice tries out wide.
Crescent scored a try to be 20-5 down at halftime.
But the second half was a role reversal, as Crescent piled the pressure on the Valley defence.
Valley’s rush defence defused many Crescent attacks and its loose forwards caused Crescent trouble at the breakdown.
A Thomas Johnson penalty for Valley was their only scoring in the second half as the competition leader walked away with five pieces of silverware from the match.
Valley’s first-half effort was led by prop Lachie Gunson and lock Damian Wilson, while Valley’s loose forwards also did themselves proud.
Fullback Lachie Moore finished off two tries out wide and halfback Jared Edwards had a very strong match.
Crescent co-captain Andy Carruthers scored the home side’s only points with a try.
– Clutha moved up into third position on the table with a 24-12 win over Owaka.
Clutha had the best of the first half, kicking intelligently and much more clinical going forward. Two early tries to Paul Papali’i and Kane Teunissen gave the Steamers the lead before Owaka hit back through winger Takyhara Ieru.
Owaka conceded a penalty try just before halftime to give Clutha a 19-5 lead at the break. Both teams scored one try each in the second spell. No 10 Papali’i and prop Daniel Miller had strong games for Clutha.
Replacement loose forward Kael Merrett added impact off the bench while Prop Tyler Hammer and centre Laumua Ieru were Owaka’s best.
– Clinton won its second match of the season with a 29-22 win over Toko on Friday night at Clinton.Toko started well and was the better side for the majority of the first half, leading 17-12 by halftime, which flattered Clinton somewhat.
The second half was a different story entirely as Clinton found an extra gear and dominated in every aspect of the match, especially at scrum time.
Clinton made the most of this dominance through repeated scrum penalties which it turned into territory and chances to score points.
Clinton scored three secondhalf tries — two of them penalty tries — to Toko’s one.
The Clinton front row of James Morris, Macrae Sanderson and James Matheson was outstanding.
Their scrummaging was spot on and they carried the ball strongly into contact.
Toko flanker Dylan Greer tried his hardest and played some good rugby, but to no avail.
– West Taieri secured second on the table at the end of round one with a comprehensive 38-0 win over Roxburgh in Roxburgh.
West Taieri’s win was built on a dominant set piece and fantastic continuity, despite the poor conditions.
West Taieri’s attack was led well by prop Kent Duncan, who scored two tries and got through plenty of work.
Loose forward Conner Jenkins also played well.
The young Roxburgh side never gave up and improved as the game went on. Flanker Hauraki Heurea and pivot Aaron Watson were its best players.