Extra time needed in both div one semifinals
There is a lot to like about Southland's division one club rugby competition, and Saturday's semifinals highlighted that.
Remarkably, both semifinals were decided in extra time, with Bluff and Wyndham coming out the victors in the knockout games.
Bluff headed to Te Anau and after the 80 minutes the score was locked up at 27-all.
Te Anau had got out to 13-nil early in the game but it seemed Bluff were finishing the best, and that is certainly how it played out in extra time.
They scored tries through Greg Mead and Pua Kuresa in the first 10 minute period of extra time to lead 39-27. Te Anau scored a consolation try late in the game but the damage had been done.
Bluff player/coach Jason Harrison said the rugby marathon on Saturday was certainly a test.
"It was the first time I've done that since high school," Harrison said.
"There were a few tired boys but, to be fair, we looked a lot stronger in extra time."
Harrison's lads now eye Wyndham in the final at Bluff on Saturday although there are some concerns about the state of the Bluff ground this late in the season.
"I just hope our ground is all right. I just had a look at it today and it doesn't look to good
"I hope we can play at Bluff but you want have a half decent ground for the final so we'll just have to see."
A try to Wyndham player Phillip Norman three minutes into the second extra time period of 10 minutes was the killer blow in their 22-17 semifinal victory over Edendale.
Wyndham lead 12-nil at one stage in the first half and 12-5 at halftime. At fulltime the scores were locked up at 17-all sending this semifinal into extra time, which was two 10-minute halves.
There probably didn't deserve to be a loser from this game - or either semifinal for that matter - but Edendale had to reflect on Saturday night on what could have been.
Wyndham manager Lyndon Dynes hailed the courage shown by his players as threw everything into 100 minutes of rugby.
"They showed a lot of heart, I can't say enough about them," Dynes said.
The two semifinals decided in extra time was yet another advertisement as to how good the competition was.
"It just shows how close and how good this division one competition is. Even when we went into the top eight quarterfinals last week anyone of those eight teams could have tipped over the other team on the day."
Saturday's final will be played at Bluff on Saturday.
- The Southland Times