South Canterbury to contest final

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by Chris Tobin

The South Canterbury rugby team will be getting well acquainted with West Coast.

It travels to Greymouth tomorrow (Saturday) to contest the final of the Lochore Cup section of the Heartland Mitre 10 Cup competition against West Coast.

Its place in the final was secured when it crushed Buller in Westport on Saturday with an emphatic 56-24 victory.

Instead of crumbling in the second half as it had done in its two previous outings, against Thames Valley and West Coast, South Canterbury had a blitzkrieg of scoring during an 18-minute spell in the second spell against Buller compiling 27 points.

Despite having four players unavailable through injury the team was clearly determined to make up for the disappointment of missing out on making the play-offs of the top tier Meads Cup for the first time in five years.

South Canterbury led 17-10 at halftime after two tries to flanker Anthony Amato and one to No8 Ryan McNab, the last converted by Willie Wright.

Then they went into overdrive, so much so that with only six minutes remaining, the score had shot out to 51-17.

Now South Canterbury will meet West Coast for the second time in three weeks for the Lochore Cup in Greymouth, hopeful of lifting the trophy and making amends for their recent disappointing 27-24 loss to the Coasters in Timaru.

West Coast earned its spot in the final with a 41-35 win over Poverty Bay in Greymouth.

South Canterbury’s neighbour, North Otago, has a home match against Wanganui in the Meads Cup final, after beating Wairarapa Bush 27-25.

Wanganui upset last year’s champion Thames Valley 27-25 in the other semifinal on Saturday.

When the two teams last met, Wanganui beat North Otago 27-22, in Oamaru on September 28.

Scorers: South Canterbury 56 (Anthony Amato 3, Ryan McNab, Cam Russell, Regan O’Gorman, Kalavini Leatigaga, Siu Kakala tries; Willie Wright 2 pen, 5 con) bt Buller 24 (Iliesa Ravudra, Mitieli Kaloudigibeci, Daniel Hytongue tries; Andrew Stephens pen, 2 con, Ravudra con). HT: 17-10.