Victors show value of composure
The favourites showed early form in the opening round of the Hamersley Cup senior rugby championship with Celtic, Harlequins, Waimate and Pleasant Point recording wins.
Defending champions Celtic were made to work hard against Mackenzie in Fairlie but survived 17-10 thanks to a match-winning try by Jarred Mannex with 15 minutes to go.
Last year's finalists Pleasant Point were more comfortable in beating Geraldine 29-15.
At Alpine Energy Stadium, Harlequins' new captain, Nathan Tubb, scored a hat-trick of tries in a 37-10 win which showed Temuka they still have work to do.
Waimate showed composure in a 42-12 win over Old Boys.
Old Boys showed plenty of fight in the first half and led 12-11 at the break but lost their way in the second, losing a couple of players to injury, and conceding a yellow and red card, as they struggled with their tackling techniques, giving referee Mike O'Brien little choice.
Maturo Siaosi was unlucky - his no-arms effort followed an earlier warning, and a head clash made it look worse.
He was, however, given his marching orders and Old Boys were then lucky not to lose a third player, with the referee issuing another stern warning.
In the end Old Boys' discipline cost them, but they are not the easybeats of past seasons.
Temuka first-five Jimmy Mookkaiah also saw red over a tip tackle after the whistle, which saw him dispatched.
Both he and Siaosi will face an automatic two-week suspension.
Waimate's Theo Davidson had a great game at first-five and showed he is also an accomplished goal-kicker, landing seven from eight attempts.
He landed an early penalty and then made a great break and put in the perfect cross kick for wing Richard Ford to score.
Old Boys wing Aden Young closed the gap with a try after a good build-up and Tyrone Hill's conversion had it back to 8-7.
Davidson landed another penalty before a superb try from Old Boys that came from 60m out and went through several sets of hands from both backs and forwards before blindside flanker Kane-Paul Smith scored for the half-time lead.
Old Boys then lost Tofi Vaimauga to the bin and Waimate took advantage with a good bust by centre Jared Matthews, which resulted in halfback Jarrid Cooper scoring.
Loose forward Jamie Engelbrecht was next after a drive from a lineout and Davidson converted before adding a penalty for a 28-12 lead.
Siaosi then got his marching orders and Waimate finished in style with tries to wing Jade Halkett and Loni Toumohuni.
Toumohuni's move from loose forward last season to second five provided a real winner, but Old Boys' attempt to do the same with Doug Hill at centre flopped.
In the forwards, prop Toko Fakatava and No 7 Jacob Lightfoot impressed for the victors.
For Old Boys, loose forwards Smith and Junior Koliosio got through a power of work while Hill was the best of the backs until he went off with what looked like a dislocated shoulder.
Harlequins' introduction of young blood proved worthwhile with teenagers Kamal Tackney (No 7) and and Jamie Cameron (lock) impressing.
Mixing youth and experience, Harlequins had a 20-0 lead over Temuka at the break.
Scott Norton, just back from his three-week honeymoon overseas, ran things well at first five, while Tubb ensured the pack was well organised.
Craig Miller's retirement lasted 60 minutes before he was called back into the Harlequins pack.
Temuka made a slow start and were punished but centre Ricki Neame impressed while No 7 Keith Darby tackled his heart out.
Pleasant Point led Geraldine only 13-10 at half-time but cruised away in the second half with wing Simon Murray making several strong runs after coming on.
For the Mud Dogs Luke Brice, Hamish Westgarth and Alister Brady impressed in the pack.
Geraldine competed in the forwards around the fringes but lacked the ball-carriers.
The return of Jared Trevathan at fullback and former South Island Schools midfielder Kevin Moore gave Geraldine some attacking options with the ball they did have.
Celtics coach Nigel Walsh was happy to walk away with a win.
"Mackenzie are a very good side, to come away with the points first up was pleasing. They will knock a few over this season."
Walsh introduced five new debutants while Tevita ‘Davy' Taufa notched up his 100th senior game, and it was a big one.
Lock Ben Simpson impressed with his work rate and Jason Rooney also had a good game on the open side while Hamish Strachan controlled things well at first-five.
- The Timaru Herald