South Pacific Raiders big win over University
This weekend in Otago’s premier rugby league competition contained two surprises; the South Pacific Raiders running rampant with a 30-14 win over University, and an injury struck Kia Toa Tigers side defaulting to the East Coast Eagles.
A new look University side fronted up on Saturday after several recent injuries had left them reeling to put together 13 starting players. They started the game well though, putting the Raiders under pressure by maintaining posession and keeping the Raiders defending on their own tryline.
The early breakthrough came when prop Tyson Ball crossed the line, and with the conversion attempt unsuccessful University took an early four point lead.
The Raiders struck back through a good set play from a scrum, sending all of their attacking players to the left side of the field and then deciding to go blindside, running it off the back and winning a one on one contest to level the scores.
Raiders captain Sam Brame spearheaded his side’s attack, busting through tackles at will to ensure his side were gaining plenty of metres every attacking set. He was well supported by Te Hiiri Ponga, who further put the opposition under immense pressure by crossing the line to grab two tries.
On the back of the go forward being created by their key players, the Raiders had seized the momentum and also began capitalising on University’s mistakes. Multiple tries were conceded after the varsity side gave away soft penalties, effectively handing the ball straight back to their opposition after just completing a defensive set.
Jordan Ruatoe was a standout, stepping his way through the defence to score three tries to further crush University’s hopes of wrestling their way back into the game.
The student side couldn’t be faulted for effort, considering they played the last 30 minutes of the game with 12 men after Liam Parker was taken off the field with a suspected broken wrist. Matthew Beasley managed to score a runaway try from a well executed intercept, and Tyson Ball muscled his way over the line in the final minute to score his second try which Geoff Horsburgh converted to bring the game to close at 30-14.
It was a result that may seem surprising given the results of the teams previous contests but the Raiders are in a re-building phase this season, and it seems that they are now beginning to look like a much more threatening side after impressive outings in their last two matches.