In space... Pukerau first five Jason Vetters sprints up the wing in his team's game against Pioneer in a Rugby Southland Presidents game on Saturday. PHOTOS: SANDY EGGLESTON

A dominant forward pack gave the Pioneer Presidents the edge over Pukerau on Saturday.

The red and whites won 35-3 at Pukerau.

Pioneer coach Craig Withers said the forward pack had an outstanding game.

“The forward pack worked really well hitting it up.

“The forwards set the platform all day.

“It gave the backs room to run off them,” Withers said.

It was a strong team performance and hard to single anyone out.

First five-eighth Rhuebyn Prattley had a strong running game and scored four tries.

“Rhuebyn just carved them up when he got the opportunity.”

To their credit the Pukerau players defended well.

“Pukerau’s defensive game was really good – it was hard to get through.”

Earlier in the first round Pukerau had beaten Pioneer and it was good to avenge the loss, he said.

“We didn’t come out here to lose.”

Pukerau player coach Scott Graham said he was pleased with the team’s defence.

“I was pretty pleased with the tackling,” Graham said.

There were times however when it was too easy for Pioneer to breach the defence.

“We were just outclassed today by a well-drilled Pioneer team.”

The team was struggling for numbers.

“It’s pretty tough for us – we’re lacking in numbers.

“We’ve gone from really good numbers at the start of the season to losing about nine guys.”

The team had recruited some new players.

Fullback Jamie O’Connor had a good game.

“He always plays well – [he played a] very good running game and good vision.”

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