Star and woodlands will contest Southland’s Galbraith Shield final this Saturday.
It was no real surprise to see the defending champions Woodlands beat Blues 22-5 in the first semifinal at Rugby Park but it was a shock for most of Southland’s club rugby followers to see Star beat Pirates Old Boys 26-24.
The unbeaten Pirates Old Boys team were the hot favourites to go on and win the Galbraith Shield but Star players were well prepared and carried out their game plan to perfection.
Pirates made an ominous start when hooker Josh Harwood crashed over from a lineout drive.
Star halfback Hayden Edgley was next to score following a powerful run and offload from No8 Jordan Stewart. Ben Pope converted to put Star in front after 10 minutes.
Pope also kicked two penalty goals including one from halfway with the wind at his back. Pirates scored another pushover try from a lineout; this time to loose forward Dustin Coveney.
Star led 13-10 at halftime but five minutes after the resumption Pirates fullback Kepu Suli scored a seven-pointer.
POB were giving away numerous penalties at the ruck and after 56 minutes Pope kicked his third goal to close the margin to 17-16. Soon after, Star centre Jono Hayes finished a well worked move to score in the corner.
With 10 minutes remaining, centre Isaac Te Tamaki finally cut Star to pieces and put first five-eighth Greg Dyer under the posts. Dyer converted his own try to put them in front 24-21.
Star was hard on attack for the next eight minutes.
A chance to level the scores from a penalty in front of the posts was turned down and Star opted to pack down a scrum. From a basic backline move, replacement centre Joel Findlay scored the match-winner.
Star locks Micky Woolliams and Jack Capil were equally impressive carrying the ball as they were at the lineout. Winger Fale Iosefa also ran the ball powerfully over the gain line from set piece.
Old Boys halfback Josh Murrell and loose forwards Ben Keenan and Hayden Hegarty played well.
In the first semifinal, Woodlands took control after the scoreless opening 35 minutes. Woodlands scored tries on either side of halftime.
With 25 minutes remaining, first five-eighth Ricky Bakker landed a penalty goal to give Woodlands a 22-point lead. Blues scored its try with 10 minutes remaining.
The senior women’s final between Marist and Blues is the curtain-raiser match at Rugby Park at 12.15pm on Saturday.
In the division one competitions Edendale will host Wyndham in the Ack Soper Shield final this Saturday.
Wyndham beat Midlands 25-3 in Winton.
Before kick-off there was a moment’s silence to remember Tojo Hapuku who died suddenly while coaching his Menzies under-14 team last Tuesday.
From that point on, the hard men of Wyndham had too much strength for the locals.
First five-eighth Michael Robinson made smart decisions throughout the match, punted well in the windy conditions and was elusive when running the ball.
Waikaka had home ground advantage in the other semifinal but was beaten 15-10 by Edendale. The tough Waikaka team led 10-nil at halftime but Edendale capitalised on its possession in the second half with its backline stars Bram Fodie and Devon McLeod scoring the points.
Edendale is in top form after thrashing Wyndham 44-7 a fortnight ago. That was Wyndham’s second loss of the season.
Wyndham Rugby Club has had another good season on the field and it could turn out to be a perfect season with both of its senior teams in finals this Saturday.
The club’s veterans team is in the Presidents Cup final at Waikaia.
Mataura will host the Gerald Dermody Shield final at Tulloch Park this Saturday at 2.30pm against Collegiate.
In the semifinals, Mataura beat Pioneer 27-12, while Collegiate won 35-32 in Mossburn.
The division two competitions have their semifinals this Saturday. Top qualifiers Drummond Limehills Star hosts Wakatipu and Te Anau have home ground against Star B.
All games at 2.30pm unless stated otherwise
Premier Grade: Galbraith Shield; Woodlands v Star at Rugby Park at 2.30pm.
Division One: Ack Soper Shield; Edendale v Wyndham at 2.30pm.
Gerald Dermody Shield; Mataura v Collegiate at 2.30pm.
Division Two: CJ Soper Trophy; DLS v Wakatipu at Limehills, Te Anau v Star B.
Life Members Trophy; POB B v Waiau Star at 1.30pm, Blues B v Marist B at 1.30pm.
Past Presidents Shield; Balfour v Bush Pirates at 3pm,
Senior Women; Marist v Blues at 12.15pm on Saturday.
Presidents Cup; Waikaia v Wyndham at 2.30pm.