MOSSBURN won the Gerald Dermody Division One Southland club rugby final in front of a home crowd on Saturday.
Mossburn beat Albion Excelsior 18-12 after leading 13-nil at half-time.
Mossburn coach Todd Cavanagh thought his team’s ball retention was the winning of the game. ball handling was excellent despite the terrible weather; we kept to our usual style and played with width.
Assistant coach Barry Taylor was a huge part of Mossburn’s success this year.
“Barry brought a lot of energy and ideas to our team,” Cavanagh said.
Openside flanker Glen Taylor and hooker Henry Benseman also had great seasons. First and second five-eighths Josh Cavanagh and Cal Clark were two other consistently good performers.
Albion assistant coach Richie Robinson said the game was a hell of a battle played in very trying conditions.
“We played well in phases but I feel we left our run a bit late. Mossburn showed us why they deserve to be the Speight’s Shield holders and now the division one champs as well, we take our hats off to them.”
Robinson said the massive amount of supporters and sponsors both sides had in Mossburn for the final was amazing.
Meanwhile, Tokanui won the division two final 28-10 in the wet and muddy conditions at Tokanui.
Tokanui had not been beaten this season and started favourites to win the battle for the CJ Soper Cup. They started the game best, and with most of the possession they kept moving the ball and the big Mataura boys around the paddock.
Both teams showed exceptional ball handling skills considering the conditions.
Tokanui led 16-5 at half-time and scored two more tries in the second half. The last 20 minutes was a real slog in the mud. Fatigue had set in but both sides gave it their all. Mataura scored a second try in the fourth quarter.
Tokanui coach Rodger Buckingham said his team’s fitness and ball movement were probably the difference.
“All the boys played well, the forward pack had an exceptional work rate. They all worked hard for each other.”
Mataura captain Brett Roberts led his team from the front defensively and on attack, and halfback Phil Rangiuia also impressed.
Buckingham said it was a brilliant day for the Tokanui club. a huge crowd, including players from other clubs. The standard of rugby in division one and two this season has been good, it’s been really enjoyable footy.
Buckingham said Tokanui was set to have a strong squad again next year, with the club also planning to have a president’s grade team. community is buoyant down here currently, and that filters into our club.
Mataura co-coach Jason Bishop said it was a great game. Tokanui, they showed a lot of grit and determination to earn the title. We threw everything at them but we were unable to penetrate their defensive wall often enough, so all credit to them.
Bishop said his club was not too disappointed.
“We ticked a lot of boxes this season and to make the finals was a bonus.”
Division 1 Final: Mossburn 18, Albion Excelsior 12
Division 2 Final: Tokanui 28, Mataura 10
Images from the Tokanui vs Mataura game. Photos: Dave Loudon