Waimea Combined outmuscled by UC Championship leaders Timaru
Timaru Boys' High School has sent a warning sign to Nelson College ahead of next weekend's Moascar Cup challenge.
The UC Championship leaders became the first team to confirm their place in the semifinals by beating Waimea Combined 34-7 in Timaru on Saturday, their massive forward pack leaving Waimea shell shocked.
Waimea coach Glen Thompson was full of praise for Timaru's dominant forward pack, with captain and blindside flanker Cullen Grace scoring three tries in a stand-out first performance.
After scoring twice through Grace in the opening 10 minutes, Timaru went on to led 29-0 at halftime and Thompson said Waimea were simply "over awed" early doors.
"They are the biggest forward pack in the UC Championship and they are heavily reliant on those boys but for a reason. They were outstanding and we just couldn't tackle them in that first half and they kept scoring," he said.
"It was a bit of blood bath ... they would be the best forward pack in the comp and we just couldn't contain them."
However, Waimea finally settled into their rhythm in the second spell and right winger Jayde Palmer was rewarded for a strong performance in a rare start by dotting down for the team's only try of the game.
His try was converted by Josh McPherson.
Timaru scored again right on fulltime with Finlay Joyce securing a double.
Although the result leaves Waimea short of the playoffs, Thompson said the team could hold their heads high after outscoring Timaru 7-5 in a much improved second half, with No 8 Joe Taylor leading the way.
"Credit to our boys. We are probably one of the smaller forward packs in the comp and we punched well above our weight and they did really well in that second half," he said.
Meanwhile, Nelson College maintained their top four spot as they eased to a predicted bonus point 48-3 victory over Roncalli Combined, the game also played in Timaru on Saturday.
While the scoreline blew out somewhat, the home team provided spirited opposition for periods of the match. They exerted pressure on the goal line and only resolute defence by the visitors maintained the healthy margin.
Prop Freddy Vereivalu was a bundle of energy both on offence and defence.
With a two games in three days and a tougher fixture looming against St Thomas in Christchurch on Monday, Nelson took the opportunity to start their younger troops and the players responded with feverish vigour.
Lock Fergus Hughes displayed his aerial skills to good effect both at lineout time and as the kick-off receiver.
Jarrod McKay also relished the start and with flanker Max Fraine foraged manfully in the tight to guarantee the visitors a constant supply of usable ball.
Yappy halfback Graham Urquhart kept the forwards in line while Taine Robinson controlled proceedings well in the pivot role and at the back Leicester Faingaanuku was his usual effervescent self, scoring two tries and contributing 18 points.
Nelson's bench continued to exert pressure and replacement Corbin Hughes added real impact. Likewise in the midfield Karl Ratcliffe proved a fresh spark mid-way through the second spell.
Timaru Boys' High School 34 (Cullen Grace 3, Finlay Joyce 2, Ryan Greenslade tries, Hayden McNulty 2 con) Waimea Combined 7 (Jayde Palmer tries, Josh McPherson con) HT: 29-0
Nelson College 48 (Leicester Faingaanuku 2, Isaiah Malaulau, Jack McDonald-Hill, Taine Robinson, Levi Carew, Caleb Coventry, Archie Smith tries, Faingaanuku 4 con) Roncalli College 3 (Ben Thompson pen) HT: 17-3