Members of the Southern Region first team with the Topp Cup they won against the Central Premiers, in Cromwell on Saturday. From left to right, Patrick Clegg, Tyler Bichan, Mark McKenzie and Brayden Wilson.
The first rugby Topp Cup in the country of Otago is back in the south.
The southern prime ministers fled with the best gong during the game against the central prime ministers on Saturday in Cromwell.
While the South was ultimately the convincing winner, the final score of 37-24 was not achieved without a tense confrontation.
* Clutha’s first round of rugby ends
It was a real battle, with an equally contested first half.
Central scored early thanks to a down charge. The two teams then hammered each other for the next 20 minutes without conceding any points. The breakdown was fiercely contested and both back lines performed well and attacked strongly. Central scored as half-time approached, which was countered by Rhys Harrold who sprinted the best part of the 40 yards to score at the half-time whistle. He did 12-8 at halftime at Central.
The Southern team played the best rugby in the second half and the lead changed hands several times. Central scored two fine opportunistic tries.
The Southern team were in better shape and their attackers started to dominate as the game went on – this is proven by the fact that the two Southern stalwarts played 80 minutes.
Winger Will Young came through after a great continuity of forwards. Southern scored two late tries thanks to Harrold again, and winger Dylan Mathieson to seal the win and bring the cup south.
Rhys Harrold contributed 22 points, with two tries, three conversions and two penalties.
Everyone dug and played for each other and Southern’s set piece was exceptional.
Central had no idea how to defend his line and by the time of the scrum Southern had parity, mostly thanks to Stu Young’s strength and technique.
Rhys Harrold stood out, he ran well down the center and made some revealing tackles in defense. Alex Smith once again played well.
Coach Bruce Wilkinson said he was “delighted”.
“The boys worked hard for this. A big thank you to Lee Allan. He helped form the team and installed a sense of confidence and the ability to support each other when the chips are low.”
It was a very good result for rugby in the South region.
With this victory, many players from the South raised their hands for higher honors.