Mass brawl halts game at Riwaka
Kahurangi are expected to keep their five championship points despite a controversial conclusion to their Bayleys Tasman Trophy rugby clash with Awatere at Riwaka on Saturday when the match was called off with around 13 minutes remaining.
Kahurangi had been holding a comfortable 35-10 lead when a fight broke out between two opposing forwards, eventually involving a handful of players from each team as other players intervened in an attempt to calm the situation.
With the incident occurring close to the sideline, matters escalated when substitute players also became involved.
Awatere coach Glenn Blackmore apparently told referee John Rice that he was taking his players from the field, with Rice also confirming at that stage that he'd called off the game. It's believed that no players were officially sent from the field.
According to Tasman chief executive Tony Lewis, under the union's new code of ethics, the union will now await reports from both the referee and the match-day host, Kahurangi, before taking any further action.
It's understood that as the game had progressed beyond halftime, that the result will stand and that Kahurangi will keep their championship points.
Kahurangi had already built up a handy 27-3 lead by halftime and would finish with five tries, scored by hooker Vai Aukafolau, first five-eighth Andrew Knewstubb, wing Brad Tunnicliff, midfielder Kenny Eggers and other wing Stein Schreiber. Tighthead prop Jack Best scored Awatere's second-half try.
Meanwhile, leaders Waitohi eventually secured a bonus point 30-15 win over Moutere at Awarua Park to establish an eight-point buffer over both Star and Garter Waimea Old Boys and Central, while at Lansdowne Park, Harlequins poured on 11 tries - four of them to midfielder Conor Hirini - to easily beat bottom-placed Renwick 67-12.
Central 46 Wanderers 33
Taylors Contracting Wanderers were lamenting the absence of at least five key players for Saturday's vital home clash, although Central's forwards produced enough venom and commitment to suggest a formidable contest regardless.
The Central pack looked composed and confident throughout as hooker Jesse MacDonald, locks Riki Winitana and Dan Crockett and loosies Reyne Volavola and Francis Roebeck adopted an aggressive front-foot mindset.
And even after Wanderers had reduced their staggering 29-7 halftime deficit to just 29-21 eight minutes into the second half, Central's forwards were again able to find another gear to eventually regain control.
Central's bench also added genuine impact as midfielder Fo'ou Tuieti and wing Willie Umu continued to create second-half problems for Wanderers' defence.
Wanderers had made the perfect start when a spectacular 70m run by wing Kerehama Barrett had the home team ahead 7-0 after just three minutes. But tries to abrasive midfielder Onolevu Temo, Winitana, fullback Nick Malians and finally to halfback Ra Tamati, on the back of Central's physical forward presence, appeared to have the visitors in complete control.
Wanderers responded positively after the break as quick tries to flanker Sam Liebezeit and wing Jed Palmer had the home team back in touch at 29-21 before two tries each over the final quarter saw Central finish with their handy 13-point buffer. MacDonald and Crockett completed Central's try-count with Jesse Pitman and Steve Soper at least helping to secure Wanderers a try-scoring bonus.
Soper, Tyler Kearns, Mike Lattin and Dan Perrin met Central's challenge up front although Central's sustained approach proved irresistible.
Marist 32 Nelson 12
Wakatu Hotel Marist appeared well primed in anticipation of a stiff Galbraith Group Nelson challenge and their execution matched their endeavour as they eventually finished comfortable 20-point winners.
Marist's plan to keep the ball away from Nelson's dangerous backs proved well founded as their forwards kept the ball in hand, drove effectively from the lineouts and executed their pick-and-goes to keep Nelson's forwards consistently on call.
An efficient first-half performance, backed up by some impeccable goal-kicking by fullback Jackson Harvey, had pushed Marist to a virtually unbreachable 22-0 halftime lead. Jackson would land all seven of his attempts at goal, including five penalties and the conversions to both their tries, with new No 10 Jack Halpin also kicking a long-range penalty.
Each team scored two tries, Halpin and halfback Shaun Begg crossing for Marist and midfielder David Havili and wing Ben Tyler scoring for Nelson in an improved second-half effort. However, the pressure consistently applied by Marist's forwards meant that constant penalty infringements by Nelson kept providing Harvey with opportunities to keep the scoreline mounting.
Impressive new No 8 Misaele Tabua and flanker Dan Hytongue also gave Marist an edge in the loose, lock Tyler McKinnon-Stevenson and prop Reuben Northover having contributed significantly in the tight. Begg and Halpin controlled play effectively until Halpin left the field injured in the second half.
WOB 67 Stoke 0
Waimea had too much firepower for Stoke at Greenmeadows as they eventually overwhelmed the home team in an 11-try romp.
Waimea had already coasted to a 40-0 lead by halftime following first-half tries to backs Tevita Tui, Marty Banks and Joe Mika and to forwards Jeff Lepa, Nale Taukolo and Ben Coman.
Tui and Taukolo would score again in the second half, with substitute wing Connor McBrydie, loosie Tim Coman and loosehead prop Callum Gibson also adding tries to complete a comprehensive win and eliminate any recurrence of their tight encounter much earlier in the season. Banks also kicked six conversions for a 17-point haul.
Yet Waimea also left plenty of points out on the park through frustrating inaccuracy at vital times.
Weight of possession, a powerful scrum and the superior individual skills still gave Waimea all the ammunition they needed to top 50 points for the third straight week and move them into second place, just eight points adrift of leaders Waitohi, on the Tasman Trophy points table. They're also now second behind Wanderers in the Car Company Nelson Bays championship standings.
Joe Mika was a standout at second five-eighth for Waimea, while Charlie English and Tim Coman impressed among the forwards. Hooker Dylan Phillips and centre Nathan Dempster were the best of a well-beaten Stoke side.
The Nelson Mail