Town trio too much for plucky Country

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 21:11 02/07/2014
Dillan Halaholo
Wayne Dowd

STANDOUT: Former New Zealand under-17 player Dillan Halaholo was aggressive with ball in hand for Town.

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Provincial

Otere Black likely to leave the Hurricanes and eyes spot at the Blues Waikato sad to see Whetu Douglas leave for Benetton Treviso after Crusaders stint Luke Jacobson follows in footsteps of All Blacks as New Zealand under-20s captain Waikato lock Brian Alainu'uese to team up with Dave Rennie after extending Glasgow Warriors deal Hawke's Bay assistant coach Danny Lee moving to Japan club scene Willy Ambaka, aka Kenyan Lomu, battling visa issue ahead of possible deal with Manawatu Turbos Top four taking shape after Easter round of Combined Country Cup Southland loose forward scrap brewing in build up to 2017 season Stags coach Hoani Macdonald says there is an extra edge to the 2017 build up Scott Eade has signed with the Southland Stags for the 2017 provincial season

Town beat Country 34-27 at Rugby Park tonight as players looked to push their claims for a place in this year's Southland Stags squad.

Town scored three first half tries to lead 24-14 at the break.

As the first half began to break up and Town started to get quick ball, the pace of Bryan Milne, Warrick Lynn and Afi Peteru was too much for Country.

Hooker Dillan Halaholo was aggressive with ball in hand, the former New Zealand under-17 player also threw confidently to a lineout which included Stags locks Michael Fatialofa and Craig Smith.

Country got some set piece revenge at scrumtime with a pack anchored by Morgan Mitchell, who also showed good leg drive to score a first half try.

Lock Jack Jones got through plenty of work before coming off in the second half with a shoulder injury, while centre Ryan Evans produced a couple of eye-catching breaks but lacked support.

Richard Apanui still has that prodigious punt that longtime followers of the Stags will remember.

It was a struggle for both teams to put any sort of pattern on the second half after the benches were brought into the game.

The plucky Country side increased their intensity after halftime and coped better with the slower nature of the game.

Replacement hooker Mike Donald barrelled over on the hour and Napoliani Serulele's fourth penalty of the game got Country to within two points before Lynn and Tamou sealed the game for Town with their second tries.

TOWN 34 (Taina Tamou 2, Afi Peteru, Dillan Halaholo, Warrick Lynn 2 tries; Richard Apanui 2 con
COUNTRY 27 (Morgan Mitchell, Mike Donald, Willie McKee tries; Napoliani Serulele 4 pen
HT: 24-14

THREE PLAYERS TO STANDOUT

Dillan Halaholo - the Town hooker played well in a position which is under the spotlight after the season ending injury to David Hall.

Morgan Mitchell - the Country tighthead continued his progression towards a Stags jersey.

Bryan Milne - the ageless midfielder had enough pace to create holes and then the vision to put players away.

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- The Southland Times

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