South Canterbury overpower Poverty Bay
South Canterbury again showed their attacking prowess, scoring eight tries in their 52-33 win over Poverty Bay in Gisborne.
Saturday's result leaves them in contention to host a Meads Cup semifinal, if they can maintain the momentum in the final two pool games. On form, they should claim both.
South Canterbury sit third equal on the table, tied with East Coast and Buller but only a point behind leaders Wanganui and Wairarapa Bush. North Otago lost 39-22 to Wanganui to slip out of Meads Cups contention, six points adrift of South Canterbury.
South Canterbury's win came after a battle to get to Gisborne.
The city was fog-bound so the South Canterbury team's plane was diverted to Auckland. They then had an arduous eight-hour bus ride, arriving in Gisborne at 1am on match day.
However, South Canterbury showed no ill-effects and burst into life early. They had the four-try bonus point midway through the first half, when they led 26-7.
Poverty Bay fought back to be within one at the break, 26-25, which would have had South Canterbury coach Chester Scott targeting the defensive efforts.
South Canterbury again started the half well to pull away.
In a good day for the loose forward trio, Kali Latu scored two tries, with Sam Vea and Eric Smith scoring one each.
Smith also impressed with his all-round display. Wing Jared Trevathan, halfback Sekope Maea, fullback Liam Edwards and Fa'aitu Tuamoheloa also got on the score sheet. It was second five-eighth Tuamoheloa who impressed with his strong-running and good ball distribution that saw him have a hand in many South Canterbury's tries. Maea had a good game and would have to be one of the best halfbacks in the Heartland competition.
Captain Matt Fetu again led by example and was backed up by fellow prop Timaru Tafa.
Scott said the win was an important one, done in style.
The coach was happy with the team work and the effort.
"Tucka [Maea] had a blinder with Matty and Timaru also had a strong game," he said.
"Nick Strachan also played well when he went on for Kali."
South Canterbury fly to Greymouth to take on West Coast next and will be buoyed in the knowledge Mid-Canterbury beat the Coasters 29-24, recording only their second win of the season.
With 24 tries in the past four games, South Canterbury are certainly one of the most attacking sides in the competition but they will need to ensure they shore up their defence, with the competition set to go down to the wire.
South Canterbury 52 (Kali Latu 2, Sam Vea, Eric Smith, Liam Edwards, Jared Trevathan, Fa'aitu Tuamoheloa, Sekope Maea tries; Liam Edwards 6 con) Poverty Bay 33 (Paul Tikomainaivalu, Nick Wilson, David Philander, Jone Lesi tries; Scott Leighton 2 con, 3 pen) HT: 26-25.
The Timaru Herald