POB squad steps up in round three

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PIRATES Old Boys (POB) provided the highlight in round three of the Southland Premier Club Rugby Competition with a 27-26 victory over defending champion Woodlands at Surrey Park, Invercargill.

POB co-coach Ben McHugh said it was a good game to watch, and having such a young pack made it a very good win for the club.

“We had six or seven senior players out with Covid on Saturday, and all of our squad really stepped up, it was a very gutsy win.’’

POB played into the wind in the first half and scored two tries just before half-time to lead 22-11.

“I thought that was this club’s best 40 minutes of rugby in recent years.’’

Woodlands players then used their experience to dominate the second half. of ball for 30 minutes to get ahead 26-22,

POB finally got some possession and most valuable player Isaac Te Tamaki scored out wide. POB was then able to see out the final three minutes of the game.

Josh Harwood had an outstanding match filling in at blindside, and the two young locks Jakob Harrex and George Hall also shone for POB. The club’s new breakaway Junior Toparea also did a mountain of work.

Te Tamaki’s midfield mate Jaye Thompson was good on attack and defence.

In the curtain-raiser match, POB’s B team beat Woodlands B 41-17 and the club’s Presidents’ grade team beat Central Pirates 46-0.

Star was beaten 46-7 on its home ground by Blues.

Blues coach Simon Frisby said despite the final score, it was a challenging game.

“The first half was a real contest, Star made sure the game was a physical battle.’’

After Blues had a man red-carded in the 38th minute, there was reason for concern with a lead of just 15-7 at half-time. But the Blues’ backline was playing with confidence and accuracy and scored some good tries including one from behind their own goal line.

Halfback Jay Renton and first five-eighth Osika Kaufononga identified and exploited the soft spots in the Star defence, midfielders Kelepi Holi and Kalani Elder punched holes and fullback Brad Kooman used his speed to do further damage out wide.

Hooker Jacob Payne and lock Albert Qoro helped make the lineout a plentiful ball supply. Qoro also excelled in receiving the kick-offs from both teams in a man of the match display.

Star was a bit rusty due to a lack of rugby and some front-line players being unavailable. No 8 Greg Pleasants-Tate was good in his comeback game.

Midlands put up a good fight against the Eastern Northern Barbarians before tiring in the last 20 minutes to go down 48-13. Baabaas midfielder Angus Simmers scored a couple of good tries.

POB and Marist will play at Rugby Park tonight at 6pm, followed by Midlands and Star at 7.30pm, while Woodlands kicks off against Blues at 7pm.

Mossburn and Waiau Star also play tonight at 7.30pm in Mossburn.

Premier Grade results: Midlands 13 EN Barbarians 48, Star 7 Blues 46, Pirates Old Boys 27 Woodlands 26, Marist a bye.

Division One: Edendale 62 DLS 12, Mataura 14 Wyndham 36, Waikaka-Riversdale 29 Waikiwi 24, Te Anau 22 Pioneer 37.

Division Two: Mossburn 65 Bush Pirates 5, Riverton 18 Collegiate 16, Waiau Star 29 Balfour 30, Bluff 38 Ohai Nightcaps Otautau 24.

Division Two B: Midlands B 18 Wakatipu B 25, Star B 22 Blues B 22, POB B 41 Woodlands B 7, Marist B a bye.

Women: Albion v Blues, Midlands 22 Wakatipu 5, Marist 63 Pioneer 5.

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