by Chris Tobin
Table leader South Canterbury faces two tough matches to
conclude the round robin of the Heartland Championship.
On Saturday it plays Thames Valley, in Paeroa. Thames Valley upstaged South Canterbury to win the Meads Cup in Timaru last year.
The following Saturday, South Canterbury takes on fellow table leader West Coast, in Timaru.
Last Saturday, South Canterbury appeared to be cruising to a solid win after leading King Country 14-0 at halftime in Taupo.
King Country scored first after halftime to make the score
14-5 but South Canterbury second-five Joel Smith dotted
down to keep the green and blacks clear.
In the final 15 minutes they managed to hang on as King Country came back hard, scoring two tries. South Canterbury won 21-19.
Joint table leader before last Saturday’s matches, North
Otago is trying to make the Meads Cup playoffs for the first
time since 2013, but went down to Wanganui 27-22 in Oamaru, after having lost by a point to West Coast the week before.
After six rounds, South Canterbury and West Coast lead
the competition, both teams on 22 points, followed by Thames Valley on 21 and North Otago and Wairarapa Bush on 19.
Mid Canterbury, which drew with South Canterbury earlier
in the competition, lost to Thames Valley 31-17 last Saturday and is second-last on the table with 10 points.
Scorers: South Canterbury 21 (Shayne Anderson, Siu Kakala, Joel Smith tries; Willie Wright 3 con) bt King Country 19 (scorers not available). HT: 14-0.