Further round robin puts pressure on

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 16/06/2014

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Southland's division two club rugby competition has been extended, with the top six and bottom six to be split into grades following the end of the round-robin series this weekend.

Each of the teams in the top six and bottom six sections will now play another round-robin type series before the semifinalists are decided in both sections.

Late on Friday night, Albion-Excelsior defaulted to Collegiate for their scheduled Saturday afternoon round 10 game in Invercargill because of a struggle for numbers.

Collegiate manager David McIntosh felt the extra five games could put even more pressure on division two teams with the competition set to finish in August.

It could lead to more defaults, he said.

"Teams are struggling for numbers at this stage of the season and they've chucked in another half dozen games in. I think there could be a lot more defaults, unfortunately," he said.

In the games that were played on Saturday, Waiau Star leap-frogged Midlands in the race for a place in the top six.

Heading into Saturday's games, Waiau Star sat seventh and Midlands sixth but Waiau Star's win over Blues at Tuatapere swapped the two teams around.

Blues went into the game favoured to win, with their six win-three loss record this season.

However, the home team scored three tries to none to record a 17-6 win over the Invercargill club.

Waiau Star led 5-nil at halftime before Blues responded with two penalties to grab a 6-5 lead.

Second-half tries to Liam Adams and Roger Paterson ensured Waiau did grab the win.

To Midlands' credit, they didn't, however, give up their place in the top six without a strong fight. They took on one of the competition favorites Riverton in Winton and looked to set to pull off an upset.

Midlands raced out to 14-nil lead at halftime and in the second half led 21-7 before Riverton came back to claim a 25-21 win.

In other games, Marist continued their impressive 2014 season beating Wright's Bush 27-7, Central Pirates-Star beat Balfour-Lumsden 33-19.

Pirates-Old Boys and Woodlands met on Thursday night, with Pirates-Old Boys grabbing an 18-15 victory.

Central Pirates-Star 33, Balfour-Lumsden 19; Pirates-Old Boys 18, Woodlands 15; Riverton 25, Midlands 21; Marist 27, Wrights Bush 7; Waiau Star 17, Blues 6; Collegiate beat Albion-Excelsior by default. 

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- The Southland Times

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