Premier club rugby
By Nathan Burdon
Star have retained the Scruffy Butt memorial trophy with a 26-20 win over Woodlands this afternoon.
A committed Star outfit took their opportunities in the first half to lead 13-3 and took command midway through the second half with a try to Afi Peteru.
Woodlands struck back late in the game with tries to Alex Taylor and Sonny Rangitoheriri to get a bonus point at Waverley Park.
Adding to the disappointment of the defending Galbraith Shield champions was the loss of Calvary Fonoti to what looked like a serious knee injury.
At the Gore Showgrounds, the Eastern Northern Barbarians scored six tries on the way to a 36-6 win over Midlands.
Greg Saunders grabbed a brace of tries for the combined side.
Pirates-Old Boys also made a winning start to the season with a 32-11 victory over Blues at Balmoral Drive.
Last year's beaten semifinalists got off to a flyer and were leading 20-nil before Nicky Herbert struck back with a couple of penalties to add some respectability to the home team's tally before the break.
A try to Nathan Anderson in the second half also helped Blues' cause, but Pirates-Old Boys were able to grab a bonus point try just before the end of the game for a good start to the season.
In the crossover match, Marist beat division one Riversdale 86-nil at Miller St.
Division one club rugby
By John Langford
Division one defending champions Te Anau picked up from where they left off with a 54-33 win over Waikiwi.
Wyndham started favourites against Pioneer but the 82 point drubbing was a surprise.
Mossburn's youthful squad put up a good show against the visitors from Mataura before going down 50-20.
Ohai Nightcaps hosted Edendale who beat last year's division two champions 31-7.
Waikaka beat Drummond Limehills Star 33-12, while, in the southern derby, last year's finalists Bluff beat the new kids on the block Tokonui 50-17.
Division two club rugby
By Don Wright
Albion Excelsior, starting afresh with a young and keen team to complement the old hands from last year, revealed sharp early season form with a 36-28 defeat of Midlands in a bright and high scoring encounter in division two action at the Gore Showgrounds today.
Coach Jason Webb said the influx of fresh young talent merged well with the established core led by big captain Shannon Robinson.
Albion Excelsior pleased Webb who was generous in his praise of the young newcomers.
The scene did not look promising a fortnight ago for the new season but more recruits have come to the party to make up for retirements and shifts away from the Gore area.
Riverton did well to beat Waiau Star 10-0 at Riverton.
Waiau Star beat Riverton in the 2011 final, being promoted to division one for two years and coming back to division two this year.
Balfour was on the end of a 44-7 walloping from Marist who showed a sharp early season edge for coach Nathan Burgess.
Balfour was handicapped by some defections because of work commitments.
Woodlands ground out a deserved 10-5 (two tries to one) defeat of newly merged team Star-Central Pirates and Pirates-Old Boys, contrary to predictions, downed Blues 11-7.
Meanwhile, Demons Red overcame Demons Blues in the first game of the finals to bank the Southland men's club softball title this afternoon and Southland Boys' High School have beaten Metro in a weather-affected final of the Southland men's one day cricket competition.
- The Southland Times