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7th Oct: Heartlands Rugby
Published: 07 Oct 2017 - - Author: David Ogilvie

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Wanganui went down to Horowhenua-Kapiti in a soaking wet Levin today, but still has an outside chance of making the Meads Cup rugby top four.

David Ogilvie reports: 

Wanganui’s Meads Cup rugby defence remains in this union’s own hands - just.

Today’s penalty-ridden 15-8 loss to Horowhenua-Kapiti in a very wet Levin meant the Bruce Steele Cup has gone, and Wanganui has been relegated to fifth place on an unofficial points table.

That sets up a final round must-win this Saturday against “auld rival” North Otago in Wanganui - and a necessity to score a bonus point to hold off Mid Canterbury and West Coast, both one point back.

So there is a way out, but the chance of a home semi can  be forgotten. At this point Wanganui needs to concentrate on winning the match, first and foremost, because West Coast and Mid Canterbury both have away matches against improving lowly-placed teams

Today Wanganui led 8-0 at one stage, but then dropped into old habits under pressure and gave away a succession of penalties, allowing Horowhenua-Kapiti kicker James So’oialo nine penalty attempts at goal - and he landed five of them to knock Wanganui off.

Auckland loan player Jona Sawailau scored the first half try, with fullback Nick Harding landing a penalty - usual kicker Craig Clare not kicking because of a touchy hamstring.

In the wet conditions, Wanganui’s best performer was probably crashing second-five Timoci Seruwalu, with No 8 Bryn Hudson also very busy.

Cameron Crowley and Jamie Hughes were also prominent, but it was the penalty count that eventually cost Wanganui the game.

Wanganui’s three losses have all come in away matches, and there’s no doubt this team plays better on top of the ground, so here’s hoping for sun and firm ground next Saturday.

Results:

Horowhenua-Kapiti 15 (James So’oiao 5pen) bt Wanganui 8 (Jona Sawailau try; Nick Harding pen).

Other results:

North Otago 57 East Coast 14, Buller 0 Mid Canterbury 32, Poverty Bay 43 King Country 29, South Canterbury 29 Wairarapa Bush 20, West Coast 24 Thames Valley 17.

Unofficial points: South Canterbury 31, Horowhenua-Kapiti 28, Buller 27, North Otago 24, Wanganui 22, Mid Canterbury, West Coast 21, Thames Valley 18, Poverty Bay 15, King Country 10, Wairarapa Bush 9, East Coast 0.

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