by Julian Lee – GreyStar ( 19/06/2013)
If Kiwi needed to prove they are now the top team on the West Coast this season, they made it abundantly clear on Saturday, beating Grey Valley 22-13 at Cass Square.
Kiwi have thought of themselves as the best things that have happened to Coast rugby but now at least they have a reason for believing it the win puts them at the top of the Muir Trophy and aggregate season tables.
The match started off with a strong Grey Valley offensive but Kiwi soon stopped them in their tracks, and for the first five minutes of the game both sides showed they were on a fairly even keel.
It took Kiwi fullback Dan Tauwhare to break the deadlock with a run around the back of the field and through the Grey defence before offloading it to second five-eighth Peter Te Rakau, who scored a try, which was converted by first-five Sean McClure.
Valley first-five Tim Priest soon put a penalty kick on the board for his team, at which point the northerners really got going. Priest and second-five Nick Makea had a good run, passing the ball between each other before wing Mike Bruhn got a hold of it and scored a try on the outside, which Priest converted to put the score at 13-7 to Grey Valley.
Another penalty by Priest sent Kiwi into a panic. They began a desperate offensive to retake the game.
For 15 minutes they pushed the yellows hard, and it paid off, with lock Stevens eventually scoring the try. Kiwi’s other lock Jasyn Van Vliet would also go on to score his own try, a successful day for the forward pack.
The second half was tense but neither side dominated in territory or possession; both sides were playing to their full potential. Grey Valley certainly had the staying power to see the game though to the end but could never quite smash through Kiwi lines.
The powerful Kiwi backline worked wonders in the field but valley staunchness just managed to hold them off.
A token penalty kick by Tauwhare at 67 minutes in, however, put Kiwi just far enough ahead to force valley to get a couple of tries to win the game.
But they could not do it, and Kiwi were able to finally climb to the top of both season tables, where they no doubt feel they belonged at the beginning of the season.
Further down the line, South Westland must have been stoked with their 12-6 victory over Blaketown, even if the entire game was played on penalties. This should put the feisty southerners back in line as a serious contender to the other strong teams in the competition.
A comfortable 31-16 Marist victory would no doubt have been a relief to Marist, but Wests should not walk away disheartened. Their second-highest score in a game this season, it could be a sign that Wests are slowly growing their fortune on the field.
Kiwi 22 (P Te Rakau, J Stevens, J Van Vleit tries; S McClure 2 cons, D Tauwhare pen)
Grey Valley 13 (M Bruhn try; T Priest 2 pens, con);
Marist 31 (A Millar 2, N Smith 2, M Gunter tries; J Costello 3 cons)
Wests 16 (N Cook, H Tea tries; S Meldrum 2 pens);
South Westland 12 (C Deans 4 pens)
Blaketown 6 (B Cain 2 pens).