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Whanganui will face all of Heartland’s top four in second half of draw

By Jared Smith (Photos by Merrilyn George)

A spot higher on the table for Steelform Whanganui, but the journey doesn’t change heading into the mid-way point of the Bunnings Warehouse Heartland Championship.

South Canterbury and Thames Valley, who won’t play each other during the round robin but will host Whanganui, continue to set the pace.

However the Swampfoxes were made to work hard by unfancied Buller in their 30-15 win in Te Aroha on Saturday.

After their long trip, Buller led Thames Valley 15-8 at halftime, thanks to five straight penalties from fullback and former West Coast player Jesse Pitman Joass.

The home side eventually got their discipline right in the second stanza to score four more tries, first-five Tiaontin Raoren getting a double.

South Canterbury hosted winless King Country, who have missed several of their intended imports, locked down in Auckland, and battered them 72-0 in Timaru.

The home side scored 12 unanswered tries, with hooker Junior Faavae and winger Kalavini Leatigaga both getting doubles.

Also maintaining their unbeaten record and taking third place on the ladder were Horowhenua Kapiti, but only just after they held off a brave East Coast 38-31 in a thriller at Levin Domain.

East Coast, desperate for that first Heartland win since 2013, have raised three bonus points in this campaign by pushing leading teams close, both at home and away.

Scoring five tries to four, again the goal-kicking of halfback Jack Tatau-Robinson proved crucial with 13 points.

There was one upset in the round, or perhaps a re-establishing of the old order, as North Otago shook off last weekend’s defeat to travel to Ashburton and upend Mid Canterbury 32-20.

Avenging their loss from 2020, North Otago were comfortably up 32-8 late in the piece, and although the home team rallied to score two more tries, it wasn’t enough to secure a bonus point, seeing them slip back to sixth on points differential amongst three other teams.

One of those teams is Poverty Bay, who continue to make the heavy Whanganui loss a distant memory after they beat West Coast 34-20 in Gisborne, with prop Toru Noanoa getting two tries.

Round 3 results, October 2

Thames Valley 30 (Tiaontin Raoren 2, Cameron Dromgool, Luke Masirewa, Trinity McQueen tries; Raoren pen, con) bt Buller 15 (Jesse Pitman Joass 5 pen). HT: 15-8 Buller

Horowhenua Kapiti 38 (Bryn Gordon, David McErlane, Benedict Grant, Lennix Tovo, Hamish Buick tries; Jack Tatau-Robinson pen, 5 con) bt East Coast 31 (Will Bolingford, Jody Tuhaka, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, Teina Potae tries; Rapata Haerewa 3 pen, con). HT: 17-10.

North Otago 32 (Hayden Todd, Jake Matthews, Alipate Tuipolotu, Tristan Fuli tries;  Josh Phipps 2 pen, 3 con) bt Mid Canterbury 20 (Adam Williamson, Raitube Vasurakuta, Seta Koroitamana tries; George Williams pen, Nathan McCloy con). HT: 24-8

Poverty Bay 34 (Toru Noanoa 2, Shayde Skudder, Penikolo Latu, Andrew Tauatevalu, George Whakatope tries; Tauatevalu con, P Manuel-Harman con) bt West Coast 20 (Ethan Simpson, Lewis Jackman, Steve Soper tries; Sean McClure pen, con). HT: 12-12

South Canterbury 72 (Junior Faavae 2, Kalavini Leatigaga 2, Sam Briggs, Vaka Taelega, Zac Saunders, William Wright, Conor Anderson, Zachary McKay, Sainivalata Ramuwai, Loni Toumohuni tries; Briggs 4 con, Wright 2 con) bt King Country 0. HT: 38-0

Whanganui 22 (Roman Tutaha 2, Jamie Hughes tries; Ethan Robinson pen, 2 con) bt Wairarapa Bush 18 (Tristan Flutey, Moomoo Falaniko tries; Falaniko pen, con, Sam Morrison pen). HT: 11-5 Wairarapa Bush.

2021 Heartland Championship Table
Pos.#
Team
P
W
L
D
Bpts
F
A
+/-
Pts
1
South Canterbury
6
6
0
0
6
276
83
+193
30
2
Thames Valley
6
6
0
0
4
214
98
+116
28
3
Steelform Whanganui
6
4
2
0
4
206
110
+96
20
4
North Otago
6
4
2
0
4
172
148
+24
20
5
Mid Canterbury
6
4
2
0
4
182
163
+19
20
6
Horowhenua-Kapiti
6
4
2
0
3
144
149
-05
18
7
Poverty Bay
6
3
3
0
5
201
159
+42
17
8
West Coast
6
2
4
0
5
140
159
-19
12
9
Ngāti Porou East Coast
6
1
5
0
6
177
211
-34
10
10
Wairarapa Bush
6
2
4
0
2
106
183
-77
10
11
Buller
6
0
6
0
2
109
276
-167
02
12
King Country
6
0
6
0
1
93
281
-188
01
*TIEBREAKERS:
1. Head to head result.
2. Points differential.
3. Tries scored.
4. Points scored.
5. Coin toss.