Premier Club Rugby
Woodlands have made it three Galbraith Shield titles in a row with a convincing 32-3 win over Marist in the 2014 Southland premier club rugby final at Rugby Park in Invercargill today.
Marist was shooting for their first title in 13 years but Woodlands simply tightened the grip on the tag that is Southland's most dominant rugby club during the past decade.
Woodland's first five-eighth Richard Apanui opened the scoring after just five minutes with a penalty right out infront when Marist were penalised for being off-side at a ruck.
Five minutes later Marist had a chance to level but their first five-eighth and captain Scott Eade pushed a handy attempt wide.
Woodlands feasted on possession and territory for the majority of the first half as Marist found themselves on the wrong end of a high penalty count.
In the 20th minute that pressure eventually resulted in a try to Woodlands openside flanker Alex Taylor who crashed over as part of a rolling maul. The Apanui extras took it to 10-nil.
Eade did get his team on the board three minutes later with a penalty but that was it as far as the Marist scoring went today.
In the 29th minute Woodlands halfback Sonny Rangitoheriri peeled away from a dominant Woodlands maul and scooted in to score and this game had fast slipped away from Marist at 17-3 down.
To make the task that bit more difficult Woodlands were able to roll out Super Rugby prop Jamie Mackintosh with 30 minutes gone in the game.
Six minutes later Woodlands were in again though lock Jack Falloon and the large Marist crowd was silenced with their team 24-3 down at halftime.
Ten minutes into the second half Woodlands stretched it out to 29-3 with a try to Shannan Kapene and it become almost mission impossible for the green-and-blacks.
To their credit for a 20 minute period from the 51st minute to the 71st minute Marist did dominate and threw plenty at Woodlands.
However while Marist held all of the possession and territory during that period they were not able to turn it into points as Woodlands defended their line impressively.
With three minutes to play Apanui put the icing on the victory landing a penalty to push the final score to 32-3.
Division One Club Rugby
Bluff have booked a place in the Southland club rugby division one final with a dramatic 39-34 overtime win over Te Anau in Te Anau today.
Bluff won one semifinal today and they will meet Wyndham who won the other semifinal game today.
Wyndham beat Edendale 22-17.
Bluff 39, Te Anau 34
Wyndham 22, Edendale 17
Division Two Club Rugby
Blues will challenge competition heavyweight Marist in the Southland-wide division two rugby championship final next Saturday after prevailing 13-10 over Riverton at Les George Oval near Invercargill today.
Both teams scored two tries in a tense and uncompromising encounter that could have gone either way and went down to the wire.
Riverton was on top in the early exchanges but Blues was again able to capitalize on opposition mistakes and gradually gained the upper hand to command a slight edge.
Effective team commitment was again the key to the hard earned and deserved Blues win.
"Our boys really wanted it (the win) and again showed great commitment and heart,'' Blues coach Simon Frisby said.
Frisby agreed that the Blues ploy of no nonsense percentage rugby into the corners and applying pressure was a key component of his team's win.
Blues centre Maka Mohi was outstanding, Frisby said, and he also praised open flanker Daniel Clarke.
"Overall, though, it was a real gutsy team effort and I am proud of the boys,'' Frisby enthused.
Marist served notice of its readiness for the final with a comprehensive 33-10 (five tries to two) success over hosts Collegiate at Lindisfarne.
Coach Nathan Burgess attributed Marist's slow start to cobwebs hanging around after missing match play the week before when winning by default.
Albion Excelsior, which defaulted to Marist on that occasion, bowed out for the season when it gained its first success in the championship grade by downing Pirates Old Boys 18-14 on a muddy Gore Showgrounds.
Scores of Southland-wide division two rugby games played today were:
Marist 33, Collegiate 10
Blues 13, Riverton 10
Albion Excelsior 18, Pirates Old Boys 14
Wrights Bush 17, Midlands 10
Central Pirates Star, Waiau Star 15
Woodlands defaulted to Balfour-Lumsden
- The Southland Times