Defeating Mataura gets Edendale near top

Leader of the pack...Edendale flanker Phil Brown who is leading a forward pack charge up the field fends off Mataura prop Brett Roberts during a Southland-wide rugby division one game against Mataura on Saturday. PHOTO:SANDY EGGLESTON

Edendale finished the first round of the Southland-wide division one competition in second place after a 52 to 12 win against Mataura on Saturday.

The competition will now split into a top six, which will contest the Ack Soper Shield.

The bottom six will play for the Gerald Dermody Shield.

Edendale coach Matt Richards said the team played according to its game plan in the first half.

“We play territory and we play width and I thought we executed very well,” Richards said.

The score was 31 to 5 at halftime.

However, the second half was a different story, Mataura keeping the ball in hand.

“They played tight with their big ball runners and we went off our shape quite a bit.

“It was hard for our boys to defend.

“They didn’t let us play the shape we wanted to play.

“We started well but we just went off the boil in the second half.”

Mataura, to its credit, never gave up.

“Many teams would have folded but they just kept coming at us.”

It was a good team effort, each player doing their job.

In particular, halfback Greg Branks had a “stellar game”.

The game was played in good spirits.

“It was a real clean game and our boys have a lot of respect for the Mataura boys.

“They play hard but they play fair.”

Mataura coach Brett Roberts said he was pleased with the effort his side put in despite being outscored.

“We didn’t throw the towel in; that was one pleasing aspect of the game,” Roberts said.

The forward pack was getting better and fitter each week.

“They’ve been competing with every forward pack that we’ve played against so that is real pleasing.”

The team seemed to play better in the second half of the game, but that needed to change.

“We seem to be getting stronger every second half but we can’t let teams get off to a big scores in the first half any more.

“We’re getting more confident now.”

Edendale was just “too quick for us”, he said.

There were some injuries in the team, which weakened the side.

Lock Eruera Takurua played his best game of the season so far.

“He was running well with the ball and being positive on the paddock.”

Wiremu Collins had his first game at No 8.

“We’ve converted him from a back to a forward.

“He played well.”