New Brighton slick in handy win
One New Brighton stalwart strangely knew exactly what was coming.
"We'll beat them easy," he said over his side's Division One, Section One club rugby game against Sydenham today.
"You watch, you'll end up writing about Kieron Fonotia, Misi Selave and Fia Meafou, they'll dominate."
Turns out he knew exactly what he was talking about.
The trio scored four tries between them as New Brighton routed Sydenham 27-3 at Rawhiti Domain.
They were all brilliant, as were most of their team-mates, and their five tries to none win puts them on top of the Hawkins Trophy standings after the first round, level with fellow round one winners Marist Albion and High School Old Boys.
All three picked up bonus points with their wins.
Marist Albion quickly shrugged off their frustration from missing a golden opportunity to share the Hawkins Cup with Lincoln University last week, by beating the champion student team 29-21, also at Rawhiti Domain.
High School Old Boys thumped Linwood 35-7 on Linwood's second field after "Lake Linfield" appeared on Linfield No 1's main ground causing the late shift.
New Brighton sent a clear message to their Section One competition with what was their sixth win in a row.
They were stoic in defence, structured in attack, and spectacular from broken play.
Fonotia and Meafou dominated the midfield while Selave seemed to be everywhere and celebrated his 50th senior game with two tries.
Sydenham made too many mistakes and looked a team short of a gallop while New Brighton really were strong.
They recycled the ball well, their handling was first rate they played clever footy.
They were only up 5-3 after 37 minutes, but two late tries gave them a 15-3 halftime lead.
They scored immediately after halftime to end the game as a contest and while Sydenham had the better of the last 20 minutes, New Brighton's defence was impenetrable.
For years New Brighton have had strong backs, now they have the pack to match and on today's evidence will be tough to beat for the rest of the season.
Marist Albion get the next crack, back at Rawhiti next Saturday.
They did well today to end Lincoln University's seven-game winning streak.
It is understood Lincoln University asked the rugby union for the match to be deferred, but that request was turned down. They were only missing the brilliantly named Fergus McCool today, but weren't the same side that won the opening round.
Marist Albion had lost their two previous games, but found their mojo again, rushing out to a 12-0 lead.
Lincoln University got back with three Finn Russell penalties before Marist Albion pulled away again.
They scored their fourth try, through Chris Crichton, with 10 to go and a late dropped goal helped Marist Albion get out to a 29-16 lead so when Lincoln's Steve Burt scored late, it wasn't enough to get the students a bonus-point.
Old Boys went behind Linwood when Richie Mo'unga scored his 14th try of the season - in just 12 games - early on.
From there it was all Old Boys. Joe Taylor scored his 12th try of the season, late in the game to secure what could turn out to be a very vital bonus point.
In Section Two, Burnside and University both had opening round wins and also earned bonus points while the Sumner-Christchurch match was deferred.
Burnside beat Shirley 34-21 in a game which featured four yellow cards, three to the winners.
Despite playing at one stage with just 13, the improving Burnside were able to secure a bonus point win and outplay their hosts at Burwood Park.
Also at Burwood, Belfast had one of their best halfs of the season and led University 13-10 at halftime.
But University came back with a bang scoring three converted tries and eventually won 31-20.
RESULTS: High School Old Boys 35 Linwood 7, New Brighton 27 Sydenham 3, Marist Albion 29 Lincoln University 21.
POINTS: HSOB 5, New Brighton 5, Marist Albion 5, Lincoln University 0, Sydenham 0, Linwood 0.
RESULTS: Burnside 34 Shirley 21, University 31 Belfast 20, Sumner v Christchurch deferred.
POINTS: Burnside 5, University 5, Sumner 0*, Christchurch*, Belfast 0, Shirley 0.