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Metro Division 1 - Update
New Brighton, University and High School Old Boys were the big winners as the first round of the Metro Trophy division one championship kicked off on Saturday.
With many representative players now out of action for the second round, much was riding on the opening week to determine which teams would be unaffected.
Defending champions Christchurch were downed 33-20 by University in a high scoring match at Ilam.
Christchurchhad the better of the opening and closing quarters, but that was not enough to hold out a determined University who showed great patience and unleashed some brilliant running rugby.
Sydenham, the big improvers late in the Cup round, felt the full force of New Brighton, who were boosted by the return of Hurricanes halfback Tyson Keats.
New Brightonscored six of the seven tries in the 45-8 win at Rawhiti, which also secured them the DCL Shield.
Spectators hoping to catch a glimpse of All Black Colin Slade’s return from injury with Old Boys were sorely disappointed, after he was ruled out of the match with a groin injury.
The Cup champions still accounted for Burnside 32-13 at Bob Deans, although the visitors were in contention for the first hour before falling away in the last 20min.
Burnside coach Peter Manson says injuries and the loss of rep players, including captain Tom Taylor, have had in impact.
However, the players stepping in have “taken their opportunity and played good footy”, he says.
“Those guys who get that opportunity sometimes have to wait longer than they’d like, but it’s been really pleasing that they’ve stepped up and are taking their chances.”
Peter says Old Boys, who have retained most of their players, are now in pole position for the title, but he does not write off his own side’s chances.
“Our goal for the second round is to make the top four, and if we can do that, we’ll focus on the next challenge after that.”
In the Plate competition, Linwood and Belfast won their matches against Shirley and Lincoln University, respectively, but Marist-Albion, who had finished one place ahead of Sumner in the Cup round-robin, lost to them for the second time this season.
Marist-Albion wing Chris Crichton scored a try for the fifth successive week.
Check out the weekly editorial on Metro division one rugby, which is published under the Metro tab of the CRFU website each Sunday around 3pm.
Visit www.crfu.co.nz/main/index.cfm/1,649,0,40,html/Game-Day to have a read.
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