Rugby: Southern focus on themselves ahead of the weekend

Thursday, May 30 2024

Rugby: Southern focus on themselves ahead of the weekend

Will Johnston 

Photo by Scott Siffleet

Discipline is the focus for Southern as the south Taranaki side hosts Clifton in the CMK premier club rugby competition on Saturday.  

Southern dropped back to fifth place on the table because of their 30-17 loss to Tukapa last weekend at home after being in fourth equal with their then-opponents.  

The team is one of five gunning for third and fourth place on the table, despite only winning two matches, with New Plymouth Old Boys, Tukapa, Clifton and Inglewood all with a chance to qualify for the play-offs next month. Stratford-Eltham and Coastal have likely cemented their positions in the top four, but in what place remains to be seen.  

Southern coach PJ Gidlow said his side gave away too many penalties at the weekend, which has been addressed during the week. 

“We will focus on our discipline,” said Gidlow, who represented London Scottish and Rouen.  

There is plenty to like in Southern’s game. Gidlow said their scrum has been dominant this season, helped by former Irish prop Michael Bent packing down most weeks and experienced campaigners like Jesse Parete, Liam Nelley and others.  

Former Taranaki back Jackson Ormond, who is closing in on 150 games for the club, looks strong along with recent centurion Cody McGrath, who is a safe pair of hands. 

Gidlow appreciates what thos players add to the group.  

“We are very lucky to have Jackson and other experienced players coming back wanting to play for the club. They’re very good with our younger players giving advice and helping them during training.”  

Clifton has also picked up two wins this season, including an upset over Old Boys a fortnight ago. They are one point behind Southern.  

“Clifton has always been a strong team and it’s going to be a tough match up front, Gidlow said.  

“We’ve prepared well and rectified some of our work-ons from last weekend.” 

Southern beat Clifton in the first round.  

Competition leaders Stratford-Eltham head north to play Old Boys at Vogeltown Park in the repeat of last year’s final.  

Old Boys had the advantage in the championship round winning 27-3 at Victoria Park, which was Stratford-Eltham's only loss of the year.  

But with a few glitches since for Old Boys, including a large number of injuries, the tables may have turned in Stratford-Eltham's favour.   

Coastal will look to repeat their first-round effort against Tukapa at the Rahotu Domain. 

The home team started the competition strongly with a 30-14 win at Sanders Park and is gathering momentum, despite a hiccup to Stratford-Eltham two weeks ago.  

Inglewood hosts Spotswood United at TET Stadium in the bottom-of-the-table clash. Inglewood won 21-14 in the first installment.   

All matches kick off at 2:45pm.  

In the women’s competition, Coastal-Okaiawa hosts Southern at Rahotu and Clifton plays Inglewood at Tikorangi. Both games start at 12:30pm.