Duck-shooting weekend in the South always provides drama of some sort, and last weekend was no different as the Southern Region Rugby second round continued.
Lawrence provided the upset of the round on Friday night under lights at Lawrence.
The home side beat Toko 6-5 in a match that only purists would have enjoyed. The moist conditions played their part as both sides couldn’t control a slimy pill in the first half.
Lawrence took the lead with a penalty to Tyrone Goodlet and went into the break 3-0 ahead. Toko turned down numerous shots at goal as Lawrence was penalised regularly, but Toko’s set piece and handling cost it dearly.
Toko scored the only try in the match shortly after halftime when first five Nic Shaw crossed out wide.
The mistakes crept back into the match for Toko, coupled with some outstanding defence from Lawrence for the entirety of the match.
Lawrence attacked well and put pressure on Toko’s defensive line, which missed first-up tackles and gifted Lawrence easy metres.
Constant pressure saw Lawrence slot over another penalty with 10 minutes left to win the match, despite Toko spurning another couple of late opportunities.
Clutha produced a 38-26 win over Crescent on Saturday in Balclutha.
Clutha’s dominance and physicality at the breakdown led the way as Crescent lost all momentum it had due to a lack of diligence with the ball on attack.
Two moments of brilliance from Clutha fullback Tyler Bichan ensured the home side headed into the break 18-5 ahead.
Crescent paid the price in the second half for not getting the ball wide and was caught in the midfield on numerous occasions. When it managed to spread the ball, it made metres and scored some tries.
Clutha scored tries in twos in the second half, which kept Crescent at bay despite a late comeback due to much-needed impact off the bench.
West Taieri kept its slim lead alive with another bonus point win. The Pigs travelled to Swamp Hen Park on Thursday night and beat Owaka 31-3 thanks to a fast start.
West Taieri scored three early tries before Owaka had even fired a shot. Once the home side managed to get its hands on the ball, it made metres against a West Taieri pack that despised going backwards.
Owaka’s ball control and decision-making cost it dearly as it controlled possession and territory for large parts of the second half. West Taieri’s defence and ability to be clinical with ball in hand ensured Owaka would finish tryless for a second week in a row.
Clutha Valley kept pace with West Taieri at the top of the table with a composed 34-10 win over Clinton on Thursday night at the Stables in Clinton.
A strong first half saw Valley ahead 19-0 at the break. Clinton offered promise in patches in the second half, but Valley was too dominant at the contact area and its backs found numerous holes out wide.
Lawrence 6 (Tyrone Goodlet 2 pen), Toko 5 (Nic Shaw try). Halftime: 3-0
Clutha 38 (Tyler Bichan 2, Sylvester Reeves, Sam Viliamu tries; Sam Stratford 3 con, 4 pen), Crescent 26 (Nick McBride, Setu Enoka, Lachie O’Hara, Harley McHardy tries; Clayton Cochrane 3 con). Halftime: 18-5
West Taieri 31 (Hayden Ross 2, Thor Dougherty, Jackson Reid, Ethan Hippolite tries; Callum Smeaton 3 con), Owaka 3 (Jeremy Gray pen). Halftime: 24-0
Clutha Valley 34 (Damian Wilson 2, Sean Aitken-Boyle, Jonny Sargent, Ben Smart tries; Smart 3 con, pen), Clinton 10 (Aaron Lupton, Ben Witt tries). Halftime: 19-0