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CBS Canterbury Division 1
Christchurch booked its place in the final four of the CBS Canterbury Trophy this season with a 40-13 win against Lincoln University last weekend, although it won’t be overwhelmingly happy with its performance.
Played in front of more than 1,000 people at Christchurch Park (due mainly to Richie McCaw turning out for Christchurch), Lincoln University was more than competitive and it was only 14-10 down at the break.
However, it takes a good side to absorb pressure and then come back strongly in the second half and that is what the red and blacks did superbly last weekend.
With new Canterbury Air New Zealand Cup players Sam Monaghan and Matt Todd starring, Christchurch eventually wore down the impressive students.
This was a Lincoln University side that had come to play. Missing its star lineout forward Sam Whitelock, the students still played spirited rugby and for a time in the first half looked quite able of knocking over the competition front-runners.
Still, you got the feeling that it was only a matter of time before the Lincoln University defence started to creak and that the red and blacks would capitalise on it. That’s essentially what happened.
Christchurch’s senior professional Pete Bowden (who was as usual a commanding figure) after the match paid credit to Lincoln University.
“They (Lincoln University) are a good side, a young team with a number of Academy players. They rose to the occasion today and played some really good rugby.”
It was obvious during the match that the presence of such a good crowd and having one of New Zealand’s best ever players playing inspired Lincoln University to play some of their best rugby of the season.
“They really pushed us hard,” Pete said, “especially in the first half. But we knew that if we kept hammering away sooner or later it would click for us.”
Pete said that with the pre-season trip to Spain it had been “a long season” and although the two recent byes the red and blacks had had refreshed their bodies, it had made continuing their early-season momentum difficult.
“We have Marist Albion in the next round and so we will need to perform well in that match and keep building momentum. Thankfully we got our hands on the DCL Shield at the start of the season and that has helped us.”
While Christchurch will be happy with the size of its win, the score somewhat flattered them. Lincoln University showed that with a year or two of more development they could be true Trophy contenders.
In other matches last weekend, Sydenham beat Marist Albion 28-20, Linwood beat Belfast 63-5, New Brighton beat University 39-34 and High School Old Boys defeated Shirley 46-3.
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