Harbor fullbacks shine in resounding victory

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Port 45

Alhambra Union 12

The baseline showed class as Harbor dominated from the start to brush aside Alhambra-Union at North Ground.

Four tries in the first half gave the Hawks a 28-0 halftime lead, which grew to 40-0 midway through the second half.

A pair of late tries stemmed the bleeding for Alhambra-Union, but Harbor came away with a comfortable 45-12 victory.

The conditions allowed for a wider game than in recent weeks and Harbor fullbacks took full advantage of it. They kept the ball in hand and showed their ability to hit from long range.

Mitch Regan scored after five minutes, and Piliu Tavake and Toby Kennett crossed to make it 21-0 in 25 minutes.

While Alhambra-Union had an attacking spell, their inability to finish hampered them and was made worse when Regan scored again at half-time.

Austin Atiga came through a minute into the second half to add another for Harbour, before front-five Obey Samate – whose goal kick was accurate all day – crossed the line to score and bring the score to 40-0.

Thomas Frood scored twice for AU in the final 20 minutes, late on a cross kick from front five Levi Emery.

However, it was far too late and Harbor scored full-time through open flanker Toni Taufa to add one more.

Kaikorai 33

From South 13

Kaikorai secured a place in the playoffs with a 33-13 bonus point victory over Southern at the Frank Cadman Memorial in Bathgate Park.

Playing an expansive game in the early stages, center Filipo Whitehouse-Opetaia Tovio separated the defense from the Southern midfield to score the first brace.

Jack Leslie replied with a penalty for Southern, and the remaining 30 minutes of the first half was a hard-fought encounter between the two 22m lines, with both teams buoyed by the intensity of the defence.

Kaikorai was particularly impressive when he rallied his defense after losing half-back Kane Johnston to the trash five minutes before the break. But Southern exploited that in the early stages of the second half to score through winger Dylan Hook, who used his size and strength to burst into the corner.

When the first five Leslies were dumped shortly after Johnston’s return, it was Kaikorai’s turn to repay the favor. He exploited the lack of numbers in Southern’s inside backs, reclaiming the lead and racking up 14 points in the process.

Upon Leslie’s return, the game reverted to an intensive defensive affair until Kaikorai’s bench big wood ran and forced Southern onto the back foot.

Mitch Mahoni-Rae, Champ Betham and Harrison Morton all made an impact in the final quarter to help set up two more tries and a well-deserved victory.

Taieri 18

Zingari-Richmond 9

Zingari-Richmond did his best to get Taieri out of his game.

The Colors slowed down the competition leader, who never managed to find his rhythm.

However, three tries in the first half gave the Eels an 18-9 victory at Peter Johnstone Park.

With a bye to come in the final week of the round robin, it leaves Taieri undefeated – even though he was denied a bonus point and 40 perfect competition points by a hard-fought Zingari team.

There were quality previews of Taieri.

Winger Mitchell Scott found himself at the end of the chain as the ball went through the hands of the back line to score Taieri’s first try after nine minutes.

That made it 5-3, before full-back Shaun Driver fired Zingari at 6-5.

Fullback Josh Casey doubled Taieri, still at the end of the baseline and using his pace to make it 10-6 after 27 minutes.

Five minutes later, hooker Brady Robertson moved from a lineout to make it 15-6.

Driver brought Zingari down to under six just before the break, before a largely forgettable second half was capped when Caleb Leef kicked in a late penalty to seal Taieri’s victory.

Tofatuimoana Solia was a handful for Zingari at No.8, while Jin Ho Mun had a good game at fullback.

Openside flanker Leroy Ferguson did a ton of work for the hosts, while Robertson had an equally strong game despite being shown a yellow card midway through the second half.

Dunedin 53

green island seven

Dunedin started strong at Miller Park and top five Cam Burgess exploited space and took a few tackles to score a converted first try.

The Sharks continued to dominate territory and possession, and full-back Tomas Hanham-Carter took the opportunity to score with a quick kick and also netted a few penalties to give Dunedin an 18-point lead at the break.

Green Island took promising positions but was let down by errant handling and overtaking.

Full-back Al Momoisea finally got the home side into the game when he split the defense and put winger Zion Niha in for a converted try seconds into the second half.

The game’s key moment came 14 minutes into the spell when the game’s best player, Dunedin flanker Josh Retter, broke away from his own 5m and the backline joined in to pull away Marcus Hetherington, and the ball ended up in the hands of the half-back. Devon Oliver-Bell, who got away and GI’s day was over.

Dunedin added four more tries, with Hanham-Carter securing a 28-point brace. Retter showed incredible strength and made six tackles on a 20m run to the line, and substitute halfback Tim Hogan and winger Hetherington completed the scoring.

Already short-staffed GI lost a few players injured during the game and made too many mistakes and dropped too many tackles to be competitive.

Flanker Hame Toma was at his best in the direct run for Dunedin, rookie Burgess and debutant Hetherington showed plenty of touches of class, and midfielder Ben Shepherd was bruised in attack and defence.

Momoisea was GI’s most dangerous player and top-five debutant Ryan Greenslade was competent.

dunedin rugby club

eighth round

Kaikorai 33 (Filipo Whitehouse-Opetaia Tovio 2, Lucas Casey, Mitch Mahoni-Rae, Nico Bowering tries; Ben Miller 2 con, Nic Profitt 2 con),

South 13 (Dylan Hook try; Jack Leslie con, 2 pen). Halftime: Kaikorai 5-3.

Taieri 18 (Mitchell Scott, Josh Casey, try Brady Robertson; pen Caleb Leef),

Zingari-Richmond 9 (Shaun Driver 3 pen). Halftime: Taieri 15-9.

Harbor 45 (Mitch Regan 2, Piliu Tavake, Toby Kennett, Austin Atiga, Obey Samate, Toni Taufa tries; Samate 5 con),

Alhambra-Union 12 (Thomas Frood 2 tries; Levi Emery against). Halftime: Harbor 28-0.

Dunedine 53 (Tomas Hanham-Carter 2, Devon Oliver-Bell, Tim Hogan, Josh Retter, Cam Burgess, Marcus Hetherington tries; Hanham-Carter 6
con, 2 feathers),

Green Island 7 (Zion Nina tries; Ryan Greenslade counters). Half-time: Dunedin 18-0.

Rugby writers


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