Relentless second half pressure saved the Collegiate juggernaut in their 20-14 success over visitors Riverton at Lindisfarne in Invercargill on Saturday.
The feature division two clash of the unbeaten teams was an enthralling and even contest, Riverton leading 14-6 at the break but being held scoreless in the second spell.
Collegiate sharpened their act, with their clout and substance too much for Riverton, who went down fighting.
Riverton's defence was stretched in the second spell when the hosts' heavyweights mounted wave after wave of assaults.
The thin green-and-white line held until Hayden Hegarty and Patrick Sisilotu swung the issue Collegiate's way with well-constructed tries.
Riverton were pinned down for long spells in the second half by Collegiate's sustained pressure, which won the day. Riverton tackled tenaciously until the floodgates finally burst.
Coach Joe Koroiadi and manager David McIntosh identified halfback Ratah Kite, pivot Bennie Savage and No 8 Hayden Hegarty as valuable contributors for Collegiate, who went off the boil in the second quarter and allowed Riverton to call the tune.
Collegiate are unbeaten in three rounds and, as their forwards shed some surplus condition, promise to go from strength to strength.
Bystanders could be excused for wondering whether Wrights Bush is a one-man band after team kingpin Logan Nicholson again scored all his team's points in their 22-8 win over city visitors Pirates Old Boys. Nicholson was the toast of his team when he scored all 18 points with tries and goal kicks the previous Saturday in Wrights Bush's win over Balfour-Lumsden.
Nicholson again proved his weight in gold on Saturday, bagging three tries, two conversions and a penalty.
Coach Brendan Hamilton said his forwards laid an effective platform, which enabled the ball to be worked wide with telling purpose for the outsides.
Wrights Bush are looking forward to the prestigious Hamilton Shield Challenge against Midlands after the Easter break.
Gore-based Albion-Excelsior might not be too flush for numbers but dug deep again to preserve their unbeaten record with a gutsy 29-25 win over Central Star in a cliffhanger at the Gore Showgrounds.
The teams were locked at 14-14 at the interval with Excelsior commanding a slight edge to clinch the contest four tries to three.
Central Star coach Brad Anderson said hooker Callum Rutledge's lineout throwing and organising skills were big factors in his team's fine showing against the unbeaten winners.
Excelsior share the lead on the points table with Marist, also unbeaten after running rampant in an eight-try 48-33 win over Midlands.
Coach Nathan Burgess said halfback Harley Biddle was inspirational for Marist, also well served by veteran Iona Sipa, who showed much of his former fine form in the No 8 jersey. His experience was invaluable.
Midlands were caught a little short, with five players absent at a wedding, coach Steve Unahi said.
The young Waiau Star team would derive encouragement from their 49-10 win over visitors Balfour-Lumsden, successful manager Aaron Challis said.
Waiau Star exercised exemplary control at breakdowns and improved their ball retention after creating opportunities.
The Tuatapere team ran in seven tries to Balfour-Lumsden's two.
Blues braved a bitterly sold southeasterly wind at Balmoral Drive when they outmuscled Woodlands 27-0.
Ben Muir, at halfback, and openside flanker Henry Shaw were praised by coach Shannon Townson for their valuable contributions.
Blues were too strong and better structured in the first half, running in three tries for a 15-0 advantage at the interval.
Woodlands never gave up but lacked the patience and composure of their city superiors.
- The Southland Times