Excelsior wins trophy match

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Despite being a player down for more than half the match, Albion Excelsior beat Tokanui 39-7 in a Rugby Southland division 2 game on Saturday.

The Martin (Horace) Borlase Memorial Trophy game was played at the Gore A&P Showgrounds.

Albion Excelsior coach Jim Cormack said a player was sent off about 10 minutes before halftime.

“We probably played the last 50 minutes of the match with 14, so it was good [to win].”

Sometimes being a player down could bring out the best in a team, he said.

“I think it did this time.”

The team led 22-0 at halftime.

“The forwards did their job and the backs finished off.”

Being able to put the same forward pack on the field each week was paying dividends for the team.

“They are becoming a very well-drilled unit, to be honest – consistency is the thing.”

The players had a strong team ethic.

“They are a team that plays for each other. We’re not a big side but they show a lot of heart at times and play for each other and they have fun.”

Playing for the memorial trophy added something special,

“It was good to be playing for something that meant a lot.”

Horace Borlase had played for Albion Excelsior but had strong ties to the Tokanui community.

Tokanui coach Allan Marshall said he was disappointed with the way his side played.

“I thought we never got off the bus. The tight five never fronted, hence we never got any good go-forward ball.”

The team may have “relaxed a wee bit” after winning its previous two games, Marshall said.

“Albion came out with a lot more energy and a lot more meaning in their play and took it to us and we didn’t respond,” he said.

“We played good rugby for a period of seven or eight minutes and got ourselves on attack and scored but then after that we relaxed and didn’t secure the ball.

“We were continually turning the ball over.”