Pleasant Point far too strong

STU PIDDINGTON
Last updated 07:29 14/04/2014
rupeni cokasanagi
JOHN BISSET/ Fairfax NZ
TRY TIME: Temuka's Rupeni Cokasanagi heads to the try line.

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Pleasant Point sits on top of the Hamersley Cup senior rugby competition with maximum points after three rounds, which will please their fans as they celebrate their 125th jubilee this weekend.

Hosts Pleasant Point proved toostrong for Temuka winning 35-19 and scoring five tries along the way.

Both Geraldine and Waimate impressed despite going down to their more favoured opponents.

At home Geraldine made Celtic work hard for their 20-17 victory, while Waimate also proved a handful for Harlequins only going down 21-17, which showed the competition remains very much alive.

Those results mean Harlequins remain the only other unbeaten team while Mackenzie sit third after a comfortable 31-5 victory over Old Boys.

Mackenzie's big test as title contenders will come this weekend against Pleasant Point, with the State Highway 8 Cup up for grabs.

Old Boys look destined for their third wooden spoon on the trot unless new coach Paul Tree can find some inspiration.

Celtic, the defending champions have gone without a four-try bonus point so far, one of their strengths in past seasons.

Waimate sit in fifth just two points behind showing there will be a fight for the top four.

At the Pleasant Point Domain the game had just got going when it was stopped after young first- five Bryce Shearer was knocked out, as his head appeared to accidentally clash with a knee as he went down in a tackle.

The 18-year-old lay prone on the ground and was unresponsive, which saw the game transferred to a back field. Fortunately Shearer came round and was taken to hospital for observation.

The game drifted for 20 minutes with Pleasant Point missing a handy penalty and Temuka two before things burst into life.

Pleasant Point finally turned possession and territory into points when wing Simon Murray made a strong run infield and loose forward Mana Taylor scored, with Brad Tegelaars adding the conversion.

They then extended the lead when midfielders John Peeters and Shane Spiers combined with Murray to get halfback Patrick Ryan across for a try to double their lead to 14-0.

A touch of luck had Temuka back in it when a very good kick from first-five Blair Struthers bounced awkwardly and the Point defender slipped allowing wing Rupeni Cokasanagi to gather the ball and score, with Struthers adding the extras.

A penalty extended the Mud Dogs lead before a piece of brilliance from Temuka halfback Josh Rooney.

Hard on defence he sold an audacious dummy and ran up the middle of the field to near halfway and a clever kick found Cokasanagi, who made a great run down the left-hand side to score.

Struthers missed a handy conversion to makeit 17-12 at halftime.

The second half started back on the main field with the hosts hot on attack.

Temuka defended bravely but the referee thought illegally too often and second-five Tenari Saumani was given a yellow.

A penalty and three tries followed in a 15-minute burst for Pleasant Point to lead 35-12 as Temuka struggled with their discipline.

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Murray was first to go over with their one-man advantage creating an overlap before lineout drives from penalties saw flanker Hamish Westgarth and then Irish prop Jake Harrison score.

Temuka finally regathered to apply some pressure in the last 10 minutes and a quick tap from charging centre Semisi Paseka saw him stretch out in a tackle to score.

Pleasant Point saw plenty of the ball and Murray looked dangerous out wide with some strong runs, while centre Spiers impressed with his ball handling skills.

Lock Luke Brice and Westgarth were two of the best forwards on the day.

The Magpies defended well at times and looked good from broken play, but need to keep things calm.

They gave away too many penalties around the fringes and in their haste to defend were caught offside too often.

Loose forward Dylan Sawyers played well as did Saumani in defence, while Joeli Kotobalavu tried hard off the bench.

Harlequins first half proved decisive against Waimate, up 21-0 at the break on the back of a great display from No 8 Sam Vea, who also scored an excellent solo try.

Waimate had their chances but didn't take them while Harlequins had handling lapses but scored twice just before the break.

Waimate regrouped in the second half but couldn't quite pull it back.

For Harlequins, Vea openside Kamahl Tangney and first-five Scott Norton played well.

Waimate have plenty of heart but just don't have theX factor at this stage.

Second-five Matt Hayman had a good game while Foa Tagiaia impressed in the loose forwards.

A plucky Geraldine side could have drawn the game against Celtic but turned down a simple penalty on fulltime in search of a rare win over the defending champs.

Celtic had the edge in the forwards, taking two tightheads and a pushover try but their makeshift backline never fired and couldn't penetrate to put points on the board.

Geraldine also never gave up with prop Brad Rogers and No 8 Richard Harley the standouts in the forwards.

Fullback Jared Trevathan and second-five Kevin Moore again showed they will be in contention for the Heartland side, while first- five Hamish Pawson put in a polished performance.

Celtic stalwart Matt Fetu was impressive, while locks Tevita Taufa and Ben Simpson dominated the lineouts, with Tom Fleming the best of the loosies.

Old Boys couldn't pull off an elusive win to celebrate Kris O'Sullivan's 200th senior game as Mackenzie proved the better side all round at Fairlie, up 23-0 at the break.

Right wing Heath Forsyth was a standout for the Rams with three tries, meaning in Rams tradition he will need to bring a box of beer to practice.

In the forwards Johnny Andrews impressed at hooker while new lock Cam Brensell also played well.

O'Sullivan put in his usual honest effort while No 8 Junior Fa'avea

proved a handful.

First-five Brad Leonard gave the backline some direction when he came on in the second half.

HAMERSLEY CUP W L D F A BP Pts

Pleasant Point 3 0 0 100 29 3 15

Harlequins 3 0 0 92 51 2 14

Mackenzie 2 1 0 70 32 3 11

Celtic 2 1 0 61 61 0 8

Waimate 1 0 2 69 41 2 6

Temuka 1 2 0 60 79 1 5

Geraldine 0 3 0 44 86 0 1

Old Boys 0 3 0 17 103 0 0

- The Timaru Herald

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