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New Zealand Heartland Provincial Champions 2010

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North Otago Rugby Review/Results

North Otago Development Rugby Review


The Mid Canterbury Development XV was too strong for its North Otago counterparts handing out a 26-7 defeat to the local side in the curtain raiser at Whitestone Stadium on Saturday.  Sixteen minutes into the first half North Otago turned over possession on halfway and Mid Canterbury right winger Niko Bueta race 40 metres to score and convert.  Eleven minutes later Mid Canterbury centre, Tavita Tupou burst 40 metres to the North Otago line where flanker Willie Hintz touched down for an unconverted try to take his side out to a 12-0 lead.


In the fifty fourth minute from a scrum close to the North Otago line half Tyrone Davies failed to find touch and Bueta from 70 metres out weaved his way back through then North Otago defence to score his second try Lesley Teota converted to take the visitors out to a 19-0 lead. Two minutes later Mid Canterbury with some great inter-passing swept three quarters of the field for  Mark Andrews to score with Teota adding the conversion.


Fourteen minutes from fulltime a North Otago forward drive saw Jared Whitburn surge over for a try which Davies converted.


Mid Canterbury Development XV: 26 (N Bueta 2, W Hintz , Mark Andrews tries; Bueta con; L Teota 2 con), North Otago Development XV: 7 (J Whitburn try; T Davies con). HT: 12-0 Mid Canterbury.

North Otago Rugby Review/Results

Heartland Rugby Review

Dedicated defence especially in the final quarter aided by a high fitness level enabled North Otago to end Mid Canterbury’s unbeaten run with a 19-18 victory at Whitestone Stadium on Saturday.  Mid Canterbury had the edge in lineouts with the scrums even and the breakdowns saw some savage encounters but it was also Mid Canterbury’s inability to read the game out wide that saw it butcher at least two tries at vital stages.

North Otago coach, Mike Mullins was more than satisfied with his side’s performance.
“Our season really started with this win today.  We had to win this one if we want to have a shot at the Meads Cup.  As far as the game was concerned we were getting penalised a lot and we were turning the ball over at crucial times.  We managed to get back in front but then we turned the ball over from the kick off straight away.  But the boys otherwise did everything we asked of them. We were rapt.”

Palenapa Mafi, TJ Harris and Ralph Darling had the slight edge on the opposition front row while locks Eric Duff and Leo Havili were grafters in the tight and flankers Willie Tahitua, Josh Clark and when he came on, Samisoni Tongtongo, had valuable games especially defensively.  The backline was intelligently fed by half Robbie Smith who had his best game of the season, while Ed Keohane who had to come into first five eighth from fullback after an injury to Ratu Vaituinaruku stood out with his fine option taking and his accurate goal kicking.  Newcomer J’ndre Liebenberg, started at second five eighth but he handled his shift from midfield to fullback with skill.  North Otago had potential match winners in Sale Pi’i and Simeli Koniferedi who were both able to breach the defence with Pi’i, in particular, producing some powerful bursts.

Mid Canterbury was superbly led from the front by Jon Dampney and in the tight, hooker James Carr and prop Simon Fleetwood, were avid toilers while Logan Bonnington and Grant Polson ensured Mid Canterbury a more than adequate supply of lineout ball.  The Mid Canterbury backs had potential but the inclination of midfielder Peni Manumanumiliwa to go too far spoilt many of the visitor’s opportunities.  Josh Nonu was always ready to attack from fullback while Dwayne Burrows and Muleli Bula on the wings looked dangerous with the few opportunities they received.

Keohane kicked a penalty in the third minute and in the eleventh minute, with Mid Canterbury attacking outside the North Otago 22, the ball was spilled loose in the tackle.  It was scooped up by North Otago open side flanker Uilisoni Tahitua and he outpaced the defence as he raced 70 metres to score for Keohan to convert and take North Otago out to a 10-0 lead.  Josh Nonu then kicked penalties for Mid Canterbury in the twenty second and thirty sixth minutes before from a forward surge on the North Otago line Dampney was awarded a try to give his side an 11-10 lead at halftime.

Keohane then kicked two penalties in the first ten minutes of the second half to give North Otago a 16-11 lead before Mid Canterbury spurred by a great midfield burst by Burrows saw the ball moved out to the left flank where replacement back Johannes Lambrechts touched down for Nonu to convert.  Mid Canterbury retained the lead until the sixty eighth minute when Keohane kicked his fourth penalty to put North Otago out to a 19-18 lead.  The final ten minutes were hectic as Mid Canterbury hammered at the North Otago line and in the last second of the game a superb tackle from Robbie Smith hurled Bula into touch in the corner and referee Hamish Walker blew fulltime.

NORTH OTAGO 19 (Uilisoni Tahitua try; Ed Keohane 4 pen, con),
MID CANTERBURY 18 (Jon Dampney, Johannes Lambrechts tries; Josh Nonu 2 pen, con).
HT: 11-10 Mid Canterbury.

Heartland Preview 14/9/13

Mid Canterbury


Mid Canterbury is the front runner in the 2013 Heartland competition and after three rounds is the only unbeaten side.  Under former North Otago and Highlanders coach, Glenn Moore, the Ashburton based side has beaten Poverty Bay (31-12), Horowhenua-Kapiti, 13-9, and last Saturday had to come behind, 9-17 at halftime for a 29-23 win.  In 2011 Mid Canterbury was a Meads Cup semi-finalist in 2012 with five wins from the nine matches but was beaten 32-22 by Wanganui.  Last season with three wins from the nine matches Mid Canterbury made the Lochore Cup semi-finals where it was beaten, 48-20 by South Canterbury.  Earlier in its history Mid Canterbury which has produced two All Blacks, Grant Perry(1980) and Jock Ross(1981), won the Second division(South) in 1983, and the Third Division in 1994 and 1998.


North Otago and Mid Canterbury will meet in the 101st encounter between the two Unions on Saturday at Whitestone Stadium in Oamaru.  The first game between North Otago and Ashburton County (was renamed the Mid Canterbury Union in 1951) occurred in 1928 when Ashburton won 24-9.  Eight matches were played before the onset of World War 11 with honours shared between the two Unions.  Following the resumption of rugby after the war North Otago won the next ten matches until in 1952, the change of name brought about a change in the fortunes of the now Mid Canterbury side which won both games in 1952, 3-0 and 16-11.  The rest of the fifties saw Mid Canterbury win eight of the games, North Otago, six and there was one drawn game.


The sixties saw Mid Canterbury dominating matches between the two sides winning 14 games to North Otago’s, two with two drawn games.  Mid Canterbury kept North Otago out in the cold through the seventies winning thirteen of the sixteen games  played in that decade and the eighties while ringing a little hope brought no reward for North Otago as it failed to win any of the ten games played.  The nineties saw Mid Canterbury win seven of the eight games played between the two with no game played in 1999 as Mid Canterbury moved up a rung to the second division.  Matches between the two Unions commenced again in 2002.  It was to be North Otago’s chance to rule the roost as under former Mid Cantabrian number eight, Glenn Moore, North Otago won the next four games.  Mike Mullins took over North Otago in 2006 with North Otago winning, 28-16.  The following year Mullins’ men dealt a 57-14 hiding to Mid Canterbury which had its revenge in the final round of Heartland beating North Otago, 25-22.  North Otago recovered from this to go on and take the Meads Cup defeating Wanganui, 25-8 in the final.  The pendulum has swung Mid Canterbury’s way over the last five seasons with Mid Canterbury winning seven of the last eight games.

North Otago Rugby Review/Results

Heartland Rugby Review – Ruatoria


North Otago produced a disciplined display to defeat East Coast at Wharekura Park, 25-23 and pick up a valuable four competition points.  There was little between the two sides with the biggest margin between the two sides being six points when North Otago went out to a 19-13 lead in the 52nd minute.  Goal kicking was the key to North Otago’s success with fullback Ed Keohane kicking three penalties and first five eighth, Ben Patston, two.


East Coast took the early led when right winger Whaimotu Craft-Chemis beat two tacklers to score an unconverted try.  Four minutes later Patston kicked the first of his two penalties.  Centre TJ Moeke sparked an attack for East Coast five minutes later and a slick grubber kick by East Coast first five eighth, Sikeli Vorenasu enabled big lock Ricky Waitoa to gather and crash over to take his side out to a 10-3 lead.  The second quarter belonged to North Otago as a Willie Tahitua try and a second Patston penalty gave North Otago an 11-10 lead at halftime.


Keohane who took over the kicking duties in the second half took North Otago out to a 14-10 lead in the 46th minute but three minutes later Vorenasu kicked a penalty to reduce the lead to a solitary point.  Three minutes later almost from the kick off Ralph Darling leapt high to grab possession and from the resulting charge halfback Robbie Smith scored wide out to take North Otago out to a 19-13 lead.  Three minutes later East Coast decided to take the five metre lineout from a penalty and then drove hooker Lloyd Gabriel in for an unconverted try to give North Otago a narrow 19-18 lead.  Keohane added another penalty to take North Otago out to 22-18 before Craft-Chemis finished off a great drive by East Coast initiated by lock Everard Reid and Gabriel to put East Coast into a 23-22 lead.  Ten minutes to go Keohane added his third penalty and North Otago held on for the final ten minutes to register its first win of the season. 


In other games Mid Canterbury came from behind to beat Wairarapa-Bush, 29-23,Wanganui beat South Canterbury, 24-23, Horowhenua-Kapiti downed King Country,19-18, Thames Valley held off Buller,23-18 and West Coast registered its second win with a 30-14 win over Poverty Bay.


The evenness of the Heartland competition was amply illustrated in the third round.  Unbeaten Mid Canterbury leads the table with 13 points from Thames Valley (12) while Wairarapa-Bush (10) and King Country (9) and West Coast (9) are the top five. The next five teams, Buller, South Canterbury, Horowhenua-Kapiti, North Otago and Wanganui are all on six points followed by East Coast (5) and Poverty Bay (0).