Big Heartland clash looming
South Canterbury and Buller have all the momentum at the top of the Pink Batts Heartland Championship, which sets up a big clash between the two this coming weekend in Westport.
The Cantabrians picked up a big 43-16 win over Wairarapa Bush in Timaru, as Buller beat King Country 53-29 in a free-flowing match up in Te Kuiti.
The results mean South Canterbury has racked up three straight bonus point victories while the little South Island coastal union has travelled to the North Island on consecutive weekends and left with big wins.
For the second Saturday in a row, Maile L’Ongi scored two tries for South Canterbury, as did Erenimo Tau.
James Lash and Glenn Angus both scored doubles among Buller’s eight tries.
Two teams who didn’t even feature in either the 2013 Meads or Lochore Cup playoffs have moved into the third and fourth spot as Horowhenua-Kapiti took their momentum from the previous win over Wanganui to beat East Coast 37-10 in Levin, while Poverty Bay came from 10 points down at halftime to hold off West Coast 29-20 in Gisborne, with two tries from Bryn Uriarau.
Defending Meads Cup champions and early season favourite Mid Canterbury could not match Buller’s North Island tour success as they followed up their draw with Wairarapa Bush to lose 20-15 to Thames Valley in Paeroa.
That makes this weekend’s clash with Wanganui down in Ashburton a crucial meeting for both sides.
Despite Wanganui’s slight upset of North Otago, they are still two points behind where they were at the same time in 2013, which means they have lots to do if they want to make the top four in the Meads Cup.
By Jared Smith – WANGANUI CHRONICLE