Coast result helps Wanganui
Greymouth giveth and taketh away.
Steelform Wanganui owe a big thank you to the West Coast team, who had beaten them in the rain 23-17 two weeks ago, as the Coasters earned their second win at home by upsetting Thames Valley 27-22 on Saturday.
One point ahead of Wanganui going into the round, Thames Valley could only manage three tries, so one bonus point left them tied with Wanganui, who stayed in eighth spot through a for/against record you could count on two hands.
Also crucial for Wanganui, they will not have to go back to the South Island for the semifinals, as South Canterbury were undone in Timaru by Mid Canterbury 24-7.
Looking like their hopes of retaining the Meads Cup were dead one month ago, Mid Canterbury swept up to third spot to finish as the only repeat 2013 semifinalist.
After both missed all playoff rugby last year, Poverty Bay and Horowhenua Kapiti fought out a 13-13 draw in Gisborne, to finish second and fourth respectively.
South Canterbury now play North Otago, who as expected put East Coast out of their misery with a 45-5 hammering in Oamaru.
Robbie Smith and Samisoni Tongotongo each scored two of the home team’s seven tries.
But all efforts pale in comparison to Buller, who are now hot favourites to lift the Meads Cup, as they completed an unbeaten round robin with a 49-36 win over Wairarapa Bush in Masterton.
Buller would be the envy of Wanganui, as they won all three of their North Island tour games with bonus points. Even with the top spot all sewn up before Saturday, they did not let up, as Ilisesa Ravudra scored four of their seven tries, with James Lash converting the lot.
By Jared Smith – WANGANUI CHRONICLE