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Season 14 League 2

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  • Season 14 League 2


  • #2
    Really surprised that the Rosario Rockets didn't get promoted after going through Season 13 unbeaten in this league, and winning the grand final too.

    Comment


    • GrahamNZ
      GrahamNZ commented
      Editing a comment
      My top four picks would be Sunshine Coast, Rosario, Bulawayo and Bloemfontein.

    • Cento
      Cento commented
      Editing a comment
      Tough league but I rate Durban Stars to be there as well

    • apeman
      apeman commented
      Editing a comment
      Cento, I think it's going to be a beauty of a season in league two. Five or six teams can take it (yes including your two teams). I hope Sunshine Coast Pirates give us a good run for our money. When they are on, they will impossible to contain in this league.

      Good luck to all

  • #3
    Christchurch Panthers News and Team Selection (Round 1)

    We start the season in debt, but without any glaring areas of weakness in our squad.
    We didn't make any youth signings.

    With an eye to to stabilising our finances, we've placed two very good players on the transfer list:

    Nicholas Ebanks (32 year old fullback with OVR 95. Not retiring)
    David Aiken (30 year old scrumhalf with OVR 91)

    This season for the Panthers is all about consolidating our place in League 2.
    Although there's a possibility that we might be in the hunt for a playoff spot, I consider it unlikely.

    Our first match is away to the Greater Taree Hurricanes.
    The two sides look very evenly matched, so it should be a great game.


    Code:
    Greater Taree Hurricanes v Christchurch Panthers
    
    1 Alipate Tuinauvai
    2 Charles Phillips (captain)
    3 Owen Williams
    4 Kavindu Black
    5 Revaz Shergelaia
    6 Chris Taylor
    7 Nick Sezer
    8 James van Heerden
    9 David Aiken
    10 Brett Tuineau
    11 Pat Taylor
    12 Andrew Fraser
    13 JP Nel
    14 Karl Potgieter
    15 Nicholas Ebanks
    Last edited by GrahamNZ; 06-10-2020, 03:53 AM.

    Comment


    • GrahamNZ
      GrahamNZ commented
      Editing a comment
      Match report tomorrow.

    • samuelrambo
      samuelrambo commented
      Editing a comment
      This one was something else. I might do one myself tomorrow if I find time.

    • GrahamNZ
      GrahamNZ commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah. Gutted by this one. Talk about being robbed!

  • #4
    Week 2 Team News:

    The Bulawayo Butchers will get their first taste of league two action against former league 1 side, Johannesburg Blitz. The Blitz used to be a formidable team and still consist mostly of quality players, but they have some deficiencies, most notably in the midfield. The Butchers will have to make due without the services of the Frenchman Blaisdell Thierry at 10 who retired at the end of last season, but Dave Williams haven't disappointed whenever he was granted an opportunity in the 10 shirt. Star fullback Valentin Hobai announced his retirement on Monday, which is a humongous blow for the club looking forward. Sean Kilmore gets a chance to show what he can do at the back.

    1) J. Barnes
    2) F. Bergamasco
    3) J. Tokuda
    4) B. Winters (c)
    5) D. Estevez
    6) J. Torres
    7) I. Cooper
    8) J. Harris

    9) O. Petit
    10) D. Williams
    11) B. Christie
    12) T. Francis
    13) G. Petric
    14) M. Miles
    15) S. Kilmore

    Comment


    • GrahamNZ
      GrahamNZ commented
      Editing a comment
      Welcome to League 2 and all the best, Ape. Should be another good game to watch.

    • samuelrambo
      samuelrambo commented
      Editing a comment
      No contest, this one. The Butchers are hot favourites in League 2.

    • GrahamNZ
      GrahamNZ commented
      Editing a comment
      I'd rate both Springfield and Rosario ahead of Bulawayo, but the Butchers are a threat for sure.

  • #5
    Vortex travel to Rosario for a horror first-round matchup. Thanks to the penny-pinching bean counters at GRMHQ, we have a new stadium but have only four home games, and we have received a pitiful home game compensation equal to our magnificent crowd at our quarter full old stadium. This is going to be a long season. We've changed up our personnel, so names will be very different from last season. Our team for this weekend is:

    1. Willie McDowell
    2. Larry Norton
    3. Nick Murdoch
    4. Ethan Pierce (c)
    5. Josh Whetton
    6. Ollie McCaw
    7. Leo Jones
    8. Lucas Mexted
    9. Isaac Loveridge
    10. Henry Barrett
    11. Lee Green
    12. Jean Pierre Cousteau (debut)
    13. Francois Joubert (debut)
    14. Joey Wright
    15. Corey Gallagher

    Our new rookie signings are having their debuts this weekend - we paid a pittance for them, so my expectations are very low. Cousteau is likely to be a keeper, as he's a good trainer and has a handy skill set, and while Joubert is very green and no great shakes at this level, he's better than my only other outside centre option, so he gets the callup this weekend.

    Rosario should win this one comfortably. Our only mission is to limit the damage - on the scoreboard and to our likely crowd figures for the rest of the season.

    Comment


    • GrahamNZ
      GrahamNZ commented
      Editing a comment
      Go the Vortex!

    • samuelrambo
      samuelrambo commented
      Editing a comment
      A disappointing but not surprising result for the Vortex as the Rockets thrashed them. New season, but same old tripe dished up. To be fair, the Vortex were never going to be competitive given the enormous gulf in experience and class. I have to console myself with the fact that we’re one game into a rebuild and that rebuilds always end sometime.

  • #6
    It was a game of two halves when Christchurch travelled to Greater Taree to open the League 2 season for the Panthers and the Hurricanes. The Panthers finished 4-5 in League 2 last season while the Hurricanes were next on the ladder at 3-6. The Panthers started as warm favourites, and were significantly stronger in the opening 40 minutes as they opened up a 20-8 lead with a try to Charles Phillips and three dropped goals each extending the lead. Shortly after the resumption of play, Mark Hernandez went over and with an Andrew Fraser conversion it was 27-8 and the alarm bells were ringing. The Hurricanes kicked a drop goal but Fraser added a penalty to keep the margin at 19 points with 14 minutes remaining. Fans were seen leaving the stadium at this point as it looked like all hope was lost. Someone forgot to tell the home side, as they scored through flyhalf Marcus Daley in the 70th minute, and then to wing George Hall (his second) in the 77th minute to give the Hurricanes a long shot at 30-25 with two minutes left. What then followed was drama at its highest, with the Hurricanes stringing together high-risk phase after phase, with the Panthers hoping for the one error that would end the contest - but it never came as Hall found himself in the clear after the clock had stopped ticking and he streaked down the sideline to score to tie the game up in the most unlikely of finishes you'd ever see. The game wasn't over, though, with 'Canes pivot Daley calmly slotting the conversion from a challenging angle to give Greater Taree a highway robbery 32-30 win.

    Heartbreaking stuff for the Panthers, as they dominated the opening 65 minutes, and really there was only one team in the contest. The Hurricanes comeback was one for the ages, and it was as unlikely as the chance of the Panthers losing from such a comfortable position. A look at the territory and possession and player ratings said that there was only one team who deserved to win this game - and they didn't. The Panthers were outstanding - pretty much every statistical category pointed in their favour except the scoreboard at full time. Six of their eight forwards had PR ratings above 40 - indeed two had PR ratings in the 80s!! Their three backline injuries would not have helped things - but to be fair the replacements all did their jobs.

    The Hurricanes were best served by MoM Hall (whose PR rating was only 79, but with three tries, including two in the final three minutes, it was hard to deny him as the man who decided the match) and with their three injuries were as badly affected as Christchurch.

    There was no other way to describe the outcome of the game other than it was robbery - the Hurricanes stole this from underneath the Panthers. Hard luck, Graham - your boys didn't deserve this result.

    Comment


    • GrahamNZ
      GrahamNZ commented
      Editing a comment
      It happens, but yeah, gutting.
      The Panthers really deserved to win, but it was a great comeback from your lads.

    • samuelrambo
      samuelrambo commented
      Editing a comment
      Your summation was on the mark.- there's no question this was grand larceny! The Panthers were desperately unlucky. The Hurricanes won't play anywhere near as well this season as their final 15 minutes.

  • #7
    Greater Taree Hurricanes v Christchurch Panthers (Round 1)

    The Hurricanes got off to a great start, with an early try finished off by left winger, George Hall.
    After the Panthers had knocked the ball on in a tackle near halfway, the ball was spread wide from the ruck to flanker, Lucas Greenwood, who was 38 metres out from the try-line.

    Greenwood ran to within 8 metres of the line, drawing in the chasing defenders, before slipping the ball to Hall on the outside to complete the move.
    Flyhalf, Marcus Daley, slid the conversion attempt just wide.
    5-0 to Greater Taree after 4 minutes.

    The Panthers hit back immediately though.
    After turning possession over from the maul that developed from the kickoff, the attack moved through five further phases of play, before captain/hooker, Charles Phillips, ran at the line and was assisted over in the tackle to score the try.
    Flyhalf, Brett Tuineau, converted from 15 metres in.
    7-5 to Christchurch after 6 minutes.

    Straight from the kickoff, the Panthers struck another blow.
    Claiming the kickoff, Tuineau handed the ball to Phillips, who charged over halfway before being tackled.
    From the ruck, lock, Revaz Shergelaia, made another strong run to get within 35 metres of the try-line.
    Three driving mauls later, the Panthers were well inside the 22.
    Then the ball moved out to lock, Kavindu Black, who put a little kick over the top towwards the posts.
    Flanker, Chris Taylor, read the play and got to the kick first, catching the ball and falling down to score the try.
    Tuineau had an easy conversion.
    14-5 to Christchurch after 9 minutes.

    A drop goal kicked by Hurricanes inside centre, Matt Hackett, from 20 metres out and to the left of the posts saw the lead reduced.
    14-8 to Christchurch after 10 minutes.

    Injury hit both sides soon after, with Christchurch fullback, Nicholas Ebanka, having to be replaced by Mark Hernandez, and Hurricanes fullback, L Stevens, limping off to be replaced by L Franklin.

    In the 22nd minute, a promising Panthers attack came to a premature end when inside centre, Andrew Fraser, chose to drop kick a goal from 12 metres out on a very tight angle.
    17-8 to Christchurch.

    A second injury casualty for the each side, with Hurricanes prop, H Robertson, leaving the field to be replaced by A Ntubeni, and Christchurch flyhalf, Tuineau, replaced by Joaquim Cudmore (normally a scrumhalf).

    The Panthers continued to look menacing each time they were on attack, but again ended up with taking a field goal.
    After two previous attempts had missed (Cudmore and Fraser), the former was successful from 22 metres out out 17 metres in.
    20-8 to Christchurch after 36 minutes.

    Halftime Score: Greater Taree Hurricanes - 8 Christchurch Panthers - 20

    Having squandered earlier chances, the Panthers struck early in the second half, following a Hurricanes knock-on in their own 22, with the ball being jolted forward in a big tackle.
    Following two further rucks, a long pass was thrown back infield to Fraser, who put outside centre, JP Nel, through a small gap.
    Nel sensed that it was touch and go whether he'd make it all the way to the line on his own, so after drawing in the defenders, passed outside to Hernandez, who ran a few metres to score the try beside the posts.
    Fraser successfully converted.
    27-8 to Christchurch after 42 minutes.

    After another promising Christchurch attack broke down deep inside Hurricanes territory, the home side broke out, with damaging runs from both lock, K Crawford, and winger, Anthony Frizell, taking them to the Panthers 22.
    Two phases of play later, Hackett took the option of dropping another goal, this time from 22 metres out and 18 minutes in. The attempt was successful.
    27-11 to Christchurch after 55 minutes.

    Each side had a third player succumb to injury, with Hurricanes outside centre, M Kirkpatrick, heading off (Y Ishida was his replacement) and Christchurch winger, Pat Taylor being replaced by Jonathan McDonald (preferred position inside centre).

    The Hurricanes were showing more regular glimpses of their attacking potential, with players like number 8, D O'Doherty, and Hall posing danger, but when Fraser kicked a penalty goal for the Panthers in the 67th minute from 40 metres out to the left of the posts, it looked like game over, and that the visitors would go home with an impressive and well deserved victory. Pretty sure that Sam would agree.
    30-11 to Christchurch.

    However, I've been robbed before by big comebacks and it was about to happen again (just wish it would happen to my teams occasionally!).

    In the 70th minute, the Hurricanes had the lineout feed, 38 metres out from the Christchurch goal-line.
    After a driving maul, the ball was released to Greenwood, who took the ball into the next breakdown on the 22.
    This time the ball came out to flanker, C du Plessis, who ran straight before putting Daley into the clear to go on and score the try.
    Daley had an easy conversion, which he duly kicked.
    30-18 to Christchurch.

    It was from another lineout near the Christchurch 10 metre line that the Hurricanes struck again in the 78th minute.
    A lineout drive took the ball to the 22.
    Following another ruck, the ball came to Greenwood, who flicked a quick inside all to du Plessis. The big flanker then put Hall in the clear, and the speedy winger wasn't going to missout, crossing for his second try of the game.
    Daley converted from an awkward angle to give his side a slim winning chance.
    30-25 to Christchurch.

    Both sides spent time on attack, until it looked all over with a Panthers lineout as the hooter sounded, but after a drive had taken the ball almost to halfway, somehow the ball came back to the Hurricanes.
    There followed two further rucks out to the right, before the ball was spread out wide on the left to O'Doherty, who committed the last defender before slipping an outside pass to Hall.
    Hall sprinted 35 metres to score near the corner and level the scores.
    The conversion attempt from out wide was a tricky one and the home fans waited with bated brewath.
    However, Daley's kick never looked like missing, and the Hurricanes had stolen victory after the final hooter.

    Final Score: Greater Taree Hurricanes - 32 Christchurch Panthers - 30
    Last edited by GrahamNZ; 06-14-2020, 09:51 AM.

    Comment


    • #8
      Spoiler

      The Bulawayo Butchers scored ten unanswered tries to beat the Joburg Blitz 70 - 0. It was a very good team performance, with flyhalf David Williams playing his best game in the red shirt to date and dictating play very astutely in the absence of the retired Blaisdell Thierry. Veteren ex Hiroshima Pirates centre Gino Petric was awarded the official man of the match prize, scoring three tries and making three turn overs. Butchers captain Brendan Winters left the field in the 50th minute, but he was replaced by the equally capable Mike Louw. Butchers No 8 Jesse Harris was at his barn storming best scoring a brace of tries himself.

      Next up will be the Greater Taree Hurricanes who will provide a much, much sterner test.

      Comment


      • #9
        Christchurch Panthers News and Team Selection (Round 2)

        No players leaving or joining us this week, but we still have the following players on the transfer list:

        Nicholas Ebanks (32 year old fullback with OVR 95. Not retiring)
        David Aiken (30 year old scrumhalf with OVR 91)

        In Round 2, we host the dangerous Sunshine Coast Pirates, and will definitely go in as the underdogs.

        As a result of last week's game against the Greater Taree Hurricanes, we have three players on the injury list - fullback Nicholas Ebanks (3 weeks), flyhalf Brett Tuineau (3 weeks), and winger Pat Taylor (1 week).
        The loss of Ebanks and Tuineau in particular hurts us badly, as they're both key players in our squad.

        Therefore, upcoming star, Mark Hernandez, gets his chance in the fullback's role, while another youngish player who has promise, Jonathan McDonald, comes in at number 12, with Andrew Fraser moving to his preferred position at flyhalf.
        Veteran winger, Gonzalos Ramos, gets a chance to impress.

        We've had to modify our tactics to suit the new combinations.

        Code:
        Christchurch Panthers v Sunshine Coast Pirates
        
        1 Alipate Tuinauvai
        2 Charles Phillips (captain)
        3 Owen Williams
        4 Kavindu Black
        5 Revaz Shergelaia
        6 Chris Taylor
        7 Nick Sezer
        8 James van Heerden
        9 David Aiken
        10 Andrew Fraser
        11 Gonzalo Ramos
        12 Jonathan McDonald
        13 JP Nel
        14 Karl Potgieter
        15 Nicholas Ebanks
        Last edited by GrahamNZ; 07-08-2020, 02:03 AM.

        Comment


        • GrahamNZ
          GrahamNZ commented
          Editing a comment
          Hoping that we can go away from this one with our heads held high, even if it's in defeat, which seems likely.
          Good luck, Naetz.

      • #10
        The Palmerston North Vortex have made a few changes to this weekend's game against the Bloemfontein Patriots. The team is:

        1. Willie McDowell (43 caps)
        2. Larry Norton (63 caps)
        3. Nick Murdoch (65 caps)
        4. Ethan Pierce (c) (24 caps)
        5. Josh Whetton (54 caps)
        6. Ollie McCaw (72 caps)
        7. Leo Jones (44 caps)
        8. Lucas Mexted (12 caps)
        9. Isaac Loveridge (9 caps)
        10. Billy Mehrtens (8 caps)
        11. Lee Green (7 caps)
        12. Henry Barrett (48 caps)
        13. Kyosuke Hayashi (debut) (8 caps)
        14. Joey Wright (35 caps)
        15. Filipo Tuimavave (debut) (0 caps)

        We have now lost 11 straight games dating back to the end of Season 12 - so the immediate goal is to snap that skid! Obviously this is going to be incredibly difficult given the level of inexperience in our backline in particular with five of our seven backs having played fewer than 10 games, two players on debut, and one who has never played a game. The Patriots should be too strong, but we'll give it a crack and see what this team is made of.

        Comment


        • GrahamNZ
          GrahamNZ commented
          Editing a comment
          The Patriots are a real threat these days.
          All the best to you both.

        • samuelrambo
          samuelrambo commented
          Editing a comment
          Patriots prevail 44-31 - check out Vortex hooker Larry Norton's audacious flick pass in the final minute that gave the Vortex their first competition point of the season with a well-deserved fourth try. Norton had a whale of a game, collecting the MoM, which was impressive given that every single member of the Patriots side collected PR ratings of over 40 - I've seen some teams go awfully close, and I've seen some obscenely good individual performances, but that's the best team performance I've ever seen. We picked up a couple of injuries - to experienced men in key flyhalf Henry Barrett, and lock Josh Whetton. Still, it took a phenomenal team performance to keep our 12 game losing streak alive. The performance was encouraging from a very inexperienced backline.

      • #11
        Christchurch Panthers v Sunshine Coast Pirates (Round 2)

        Pirates flanker, J Tuilagi, lasted less than a minute, before heading off with a bad strain. K Kaji came on to replace him.

        The Panthers spent much of the opening stages on attack, and were eventually rewarded with a try to number 8, James van Heerden in the 9th minute.
        A lineout steal and drive on their own 10 metre mark took the Panthers inside enemy territory.
        Following a further four phases of play, prop, Alipate Tuinauvai, charged through to 25 metres out before slipping an inside pass to fullback, Mark Hernandez.
        Hernandez had van Heerden on his shoulder and delivered the final pass 10 metres out and the number 8 went in for the try.
        Flyhalf, Andrew Fraser, put his conversion attempt wide.
        5-0 to Christchurch.

        A wayward Christchurch pass near halfway in the 22nd minute led to the Pirates taking the lead against the run of play.
        seven phases of play later, the Pirates were on attack inside the Panthers 22, and outside centre, S McMahon, sliced through a narrow gap before flinging a pass out wide to fellow centre, E Makenga, who had an overlap with players outside him.
        The ball moved out to winger, Jayden Ansbro, who went over to score near the corner.
        Flyhalf, Nathan Foster, put over a fine conversion from 7 metres in.
        7-5 to Sunshine Coast.

        The Pirates lost a second player to injury in the lead-up to the try, with front-rower, G Patel going off and J Bennett coming on.
        To make things even more difficult, their hooker, T Fox, almost picked up an injury, but was required to play with it for the rest of the game.

        Both sides spent periods on attack, only to be met by stern defence, as the game ebbed and flowed.
        However, it was the Pirates who struck again, just before the break, when the Panthers failed to claim their own lineout ball inside their 22.
        Pirates flanker, S la Grange, picked up the loose ball and gave it to big number 8, William Anderson, who thundered off the final 8 metres to score the try.
        Foster again converted from an awkward angle.
        14-5 to Sunshine Coast after 39 minutes.

        Halftime Score: Christchurch Panthers - 5 Sunshine Coast Pirates - 14

        The Pirates started the second half with a bang,
        From a lineout just inside their own 22, la Grange burst clear, running almost to halfway before hurling the all out to Makenga, who was in space with players in support.
        As he was about to be brought down, Makenga passes to fullback, who sped off 48 metres on the diagonal to score out wide.
        Foster seemed to have the all on a string and converted to keep his 100% kicking record.
        21-5 to Sunshine Coast after 43 minutes and the Panthers now had an uphill battle if they were to salvage anything from the game.

        Back came the Panthers, hammering away at the Pirates defensive line.
        In the 53rd minute, they won an offside penalty, and Fraser kicked the goal from 38 metres out and 13 metres in.
        21-8 to Sunshine Coast.

        A collapsed maul saw Fraser lining up another shot at goal in the 60th minute, from 24 metres out and 5 metres in.
        Over it went, and the Sunshine Coast lead was now 21-11.

        Although the Panthers continued to dominate possession and territory, it was the Pirates who almost put the result beyond doubt in the 69th minute, but McKenzie was brought down a metre short of the goal-line, possession was turned over, and the ball was cleared.

        Playing catch-up rugby always comes with risks, and when the Panthers tried to run the ball out from their own 22 in the 73rd minute, they conceded a hands in the ruck penalty.
        Foster had no problems landing the goal from 20 metres out and pretty much in front.
        24-11 to Sunshine Coast.

        The Panthers ended the game on attack, desperately searching for a bonus point, but a handling error inside the Sunshine Coast 22, typified their game.

        Final Score: Christchurch Panthers - 11 Sunshine Coast Pirates - 24

        Comment


        • #12
          Christchurch Panthers News and Team Selection (Round 3)

          No players leaving or joining us this week.

          We have one player on the transfer list:

          Nicholas Ebanks (32 year old fullback with OVR 95. Not retiring)

          Another tough opponent in Round 3, with the highly-touted Bulawayo Butchers rolling into town.

          With key players, Brett Tuineau (flyhalf) and Nicholas Ebanks (fullback) out for a further two weeks, Mark Hernandez plays at the back, while Andrew Fraser moves in to his preferred position at flyhalf.
          Jonathan McDonald remains at inside centre as a result.
          Left winger, Pat Taylor, has recovered from injury, and comes back in, meaning that Gonzalo Ramos misses out.

          Code:
          Christchurch Panthers v Bulawayo Butchers
          
          1 Alipate Tuinauvai
          2 Charles Phillips (captain)
          3 Owen Williams
          4 Kavindu Black
          5 Revaz Shergelaia
          6 Chris Taylor
          7 Nick Sezer
          8 James van Heerden
          9 David Aiken
          10 Andrew Fraser
          11 Pat Taylor
          12 Jonathan McDonald
          13 JP Nel
          14 Karl Potgieter
          15 Mark Hernandez
          Last edited by GrahamNZ; 07-08-2020, 02:03 AM.

          Comment


          • GrahamNZ
            GrahamNZ commented
            Editing a comment
            @Ape - hopefully, the Panthers can give the Butchers a true taste of League 2 footy!
            All the best.

          • apeman
            apeman commented
            Editing a comment
            All of the best Graham. I'm sure it will be good game!

        • #13
          Week 3 Team News:

          The Bulawayo Butchers will carry on rotating players in spite of coming very close to lose against a very spirited Greater Taree Hurricanes last weekend. Last weekend we rested 6 first choice players and this weekend we will be resting 7 in a bid to rapidly improve player experience. Newly recruited flyhalf, Reve Thibaud, comes straight into the run-on side. I am fully aware of the risk that such a strategy could implicate, but the award in the long run it will hopefully be worth it. The Butchers are traveling to Christchurch for this weekend's game against Graham's Panthers. The Panthers is a quality outfit and it is only a matter of time before they start winning again. Good luck Graham!

          1) B. Robinson
          2) F. Bergamasco
          3) J. Barnes
          4) D. Estevez
          5) M. Louw (c)
          6) B. Wastson
          7) I. Cooper
          8) J. Harris

          9) B. Stephens
          10) R. Thibaud
          11) B Christie
          12) T. Francis
          13) G. Petric
          14) N. Paterson
          15) S. Kilmore


          Comment


          • #14
            Christchurch Panthers v Bulawayo Butchers (Round 3)

            Having lost our first two matches, we now faced the undefeated Butchers, desperately requiring a win to ensure reasonable gate-takings for our next home game.

            After surviving an early scare, it was the Panthers who opened the scoring in the 6th minute, with a well-worked try to left winger, Pat Taylor.
            Possession was turned over at the breakdown just inside the Bulawayo half following a Panthers drop-out.
            The ball was moved out along the backline until it reached Taylor, who had the overlap 38 metres out from the try-line.
            The young man pinned his ears back to go all the way.

            Flyhalf, Andrew Fraser, converted from wide out to put the icing on the cake.
            7-0 to Christchurch.

            And then just minutes late, the home crowd were on their feet as Taylor crossed to score again!
            As previously, the build-up started with a turnover just inside the Bulawayo half.
            The ball was spread out to the right, and following a further ruck, captain/hooker, Charles Smith, was driven on 20 metres well into the 22.
            The ball moved back left, where Fraser ran through a gap on the angle before being brought down metres short.
            Finally, play moved out to the left again, where Taylor found himself in space with nobody in front of him, and went over to plant the ball.
            Fraser successfully kicked the conversion from 5 metres in from touch.
            14-0 to Christchurch after 10 minutes.

            The Butchers are a quality side though, and bounced back with a try to inside centre, Thomas Francis, in the 15th minute.
            A Panthers lineout throw on their own 10 metres mark sailed over the back and was claimed by the Butchers.
            Following three quick rucks, which had the Christchurch defence scrambling, the ball was flicked out to Francis, who had space around the edge and sprinted 20 metres to score.
            He then converted his own try from wide out.
            14-7 to Christchurch after 17 minutes.

            Panthers captain/hooker, Charles Phillips, limped off in the 25th minute, to be replaced by WP Thonglao..

            In an action packed match, Bulawayo attacking efforts were often being thwarted in the breakdown area, where the Panther forwards seemed to have superiority.
            And then the home side struck for a third time late in the first half.
            McDonald claimed an up-and-under inside the Butchers 22 before being tackled 10 metres from the goal-line..
            After two further rucks, number 8, James van Heerden, spotted space down the blindside and took full advantage of it to score in the corner.
            Fraser was unable to put the conversion over.
            19-7 to Christchurch after 34 minutes.

            But right before the halftime hooter sounded, the Butchers hit back again, with a try to left winger, Brian Christie.
            A Panthers pass went astray 39 metres out from their line, and was gathered up by the Butchers.
            Following two more rucks, a driving maul took play well inside the Christchurch 22.
            Three more phases and then the ball moved out to Christie who found himself 13 metres out with a clear run in to score in the corner.
            A magnificent sideline conversion from Francis brought his side right back into the game.

            Halftime Score: Christchurch Panthers - 19 Bulawayo Butchers - 14

            The Panthers lost lock, Kavindu Black, to injury in the 47th minute. Quintin Lombardi came on to take his place.

            The prophets of doom began beating their drums when the highly fancied Butchers took the lead for the first time in the match, early in the second half.
            Starting short of their own 10 metre mark, the Butchers marched downfield, courtesy of some fine driving play.
            Seven phases of play later, they were inside the Christchurch 22.
            From a ruck, the ball was passed behind to flanker, Isaac Cooper, who was wrapping around to go into a gap to finish off.
            Francis again converted from close to the sideline.
            21-19 to Bulawayo.

            The Panthers roared onto attack straight from the kickoff, but squandered several possible opportunities through handling errors.

            Then the Butchers spent a period on attack, only to be similarly unsuccessful.

            In what had been a high quality match, it was almost tragicomic, but fitting, when Taylor picked up a loose pass to scamper off 70 metres for his third try.
            Somehow, Fraser missed the conversion from pretty much in front just to add to the moment.
            24-21 to Christchurch after 52 minutes.

            The next 25 minutes were both intense and enthralling, as both sides came close to scoring on more than one occasion.
            But the final act in the game came when Fraser stepped up to kick a penalty goal from 19 metres out and to the right of the posts after a maul was brought down.
            The fulltime hooter sounded, as the kick went over.

            Final Score: Christchurch Panthers - 27 Bulawayo Butchers - 21
            Last edited by GrahamNZ; 06-28-2020, 03:18 AM.

            Comment


            • GrahamNZ
              GrahamNZ commented
              Editing a comment
              Cheers, Ape.
              The Butchers are a great team, and I would fully expect them to be in the playoffs later on.
              Rosario are the side you need to watch out for (we all do!).

            • GrahamNZ
              GrahamNZ commented
              Editing a comment
              Well, Sam.
              The Boars, Panthers and Fear have only won one game each this season, so hopefully my luck will continue a while longer.

            • apeman
              apeman commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks Graham. I'm definitely not too worried at this stage as we are yet to pick our first choice team. Rosario looks like a mountain to climb but I'm looking very much forward to that match.

          • #15
            Christchurch Panthers News and Team Selection (Round 4)

            Two new players were welcomed into the squad this week:

            Jayden Robertson (23 year old hooker with OVR 83) from the Invercargill Invaders for $97k.
            Levan Galashvili (25 year old flanker with OVR 78) - free agent.

            We have one player on the transfer list:

            Nicholas Ebanks (32 year old fullback with OVR 95. Not retiring)

            Our injury list has unfortunately grown after last week's win against the Bulawayo Butchers, and four first choice players are unavailable for our Round 4 game against the visiting Los Angeles Rams - Nicholas Ebanks (fullback), Brett Tuineau (flyhalf), Charles Phillips (captain and hooker), and Kavindu Black (lock).

            The signing of Robertson was timely and I felt necessary, as we often get injuries occurring in that position.

            Our playing fifteen against the formidable Rams is:

            Code:
            Christchurch Panthers v Los Angeles Rams
            
            1 Alipate Tuinauvai
            2 WP Thonglao
            3 Owen Williams (captain)
            4 Quintin Lombardi
            5 Revaz Shergelaia
            6 Chris Taylor
            7 Nick Sezer
            8 James van Heerden
            9 David Aiken
            10 Andrew Fraser
            11 Pat Taylor
            12 Jonathan McDonald
            13 JP Nel
            14 Karl Potgieter
            15 Mark Hernandez
            Last edited by GrahamNZ; 07-08-2020, 02:03 AM.

            Comment


            • samuelrambo
              samuelrambo commented
              Editing a comment
              A lot to like in this contest. This one could go either way. Panthers were outstanding last weekend and for that reason deserve to be in calculations here. The Rams are a quality side and will take some beating. One could argue that last week saw them benefit substantially from a particularly generous Greater Taree side that gifted them 35 points. If you don’t believe me, watch the highlights. The Rams are a better team than they showed last weekend. Best of luck to both managers!
              Last edited by samuelrambo; 07-02-2020, 10:03 AM.

            • GrahamNZ
              GrahamNZ commented
              Editing a comment
              Two of your old players in the Panthers, Sam.
              Pat Taylor and David Aiken.

            • samuelrambo
              samuelrambo commented
              Editing a comment
              David was a popular team mate. He always started ahead of Eli Gock - Eli got his opportunity when David left. Pat is a quality player who never got a chance to show what he could do with us. He’ll have a terrific career. I rate him - he was a victim of the numbers game. Essentially it came down to a choice between Pat and Beauden Roberts to remain in the squad. Beauden is a terrible trainer but he has size. With Kane Sturmey retiring at the end of the season, Pat would have been a live chance had we kept him on the roster for a bit longer. As it is, we picked up an equally terrible trainer in this seasons academy class in rookie Geronimo Zain who fortunately has reasonable base levels of what I look for in a winger.
              I am definitely following both players performances with interest.
              Last edited by samuelrambo; 07-02-2020, 10:30 AM.
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