They say finals are won by defence. But not this one.
It was the attacking prowess of Whale Watch Kaikoura that earned them the Marlborough division two championship and capped an unbeaten season.
The Cray Coasters ran in six tries as they overcame Moutere 43-22 in the final at Lansdowne Park on Saturday, doing most of the damage in a dominating first half. Utilising the high energy brand of rugby that has brought them so much success this season, Kaikoura were too strong for a gallant Magpies outfit who fought back in the second spell to hold their rivals to just 14 points, while adding 12 of their own.
Among an all-action forward pack, the Kaikoura loose forwards were standouts. Flankers James Hunt and Amoraki Cowan, plus No 8 Dwayne Timms, were into everything – winning lineout ball, tackling hard and showing skills with the ball in hand. Prop Steven Crudis and skipper Phil Guthrie did their core work admirably. Behind the scrum, halfback Chris Young, first five Chris McDermott and midfielder Myles Hamilton dictated play superbly while the determined running of centre Fraser Seddon, winger Dan Anderson and fullback Liam O’Donoghue was rewarded with tries.
Hamilton, who landed five conversions and a penalty, got the ball rolling for the Cray Coasters with a sixth minute three-pointer. Moutere first five Jordan Newman, who also impressed with his educated boot, levelled the score soon after before Seddon scored Kaikoura’s first try. Three more first half Kaikoura touchdowns to O’Donoghue, Young and Timms were split by a Magpies try to winger Jamie Findlay, leaving the southerners with a 29-10 halftime advantage.
A brilliant 40m run by Moutere halfback Grant Dunn soon after the resumption reduced the margin to 14, and Moutere hopes rose, but a try to Anderson and Timms’ second, both converted by Hamilton, put the Cray Coasters well out of sight. Although Dunn bagged his second five-pointer with 10 minutes to go it was too little, too late for the Magpies and the Cray Coasters celebrated referee Vaughan Warburton’s final whistle with gusto.
Coach Colin Timms, a longtime Kaikoura rugby stalwart, was delighted. “I’m pretty happy mate. They like playing open rugby. We set out to play running rugby and we’ve done it this year.
“We’ve only had the same 22 all year. We’ve been lucky with no injuries and they brought it home. They are a good bunch of boys. It’s good for Kaikoura, I’m very proud of them. It’s been a great year.”
Moutere’s part in producing a free-flowing, entertaining final shouldn’t be overlooked. They were competitive up front through the hard-working front row of Paul Frost, Daz Karaitiana and hooker Sione Langi, plus bruising No 8 Makea Tupa. Dunn was outstanding while Newman, centre Johnny Tahuri and Findlay stood out in the backline.
Scores: Kaikoura 43 (Fraser Seddon, Dan Anderson, Dwayne Timms 2, Chris Young, Liam O’Donoghue tries, Myles Hamilton pen, 5 con) Moutere 22 (Grant Dunn 2, Jamie Findlay tries, Jordan Newman pen, 2 con). HT 29-10.