Temuka claimed their third consecutive South Canterbury senior A club rugby championship with a dominating win over Harlequins at Alpine Energy Stadium on Saturday.
The game started off with high intensity as both teams put up a strong defensive show with Harlequins scoring first through a penalty by captain Dean Andrews to lead 3-0 but from then on the game belonged to the defending champions as they posted 33 unanswered points for a 33-3 final scoreline.
Temuka captain Junior Faavae was elated with the third straight win and thanked all the supporters for backing them during the entire tournament.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Faavae said.
“We had to step it up in the finals, (as Harlequins had beaten Temuka twice in round-robin play). Happy that we could put out the performance today.”
With Harlequins playing attacking rugby at the start, Temuka put up a strong defensive show and forced a lot of technical errors and fouls from Harlequins to earn a steady supply of penalties throughout the match.
That allowed Temuka to maintain good possession of the ball and put the pressure by keeping the ball in Harlequins’ half.
Temuka scored the game’s only tries with the rest of the points coming from the boot of Temuka’s number 10, Faalele Iousa with seven penalties and a conversion.
In the 22nd minute, it was Iosua who equalised with a penalty and that gave the momentum to Temuka.
Ricky Neame, with a clever movement, followed it up with a try in the 29th minute for an 8-3 lead and Iosua extended that to 14-3 at halftime with two more penalties.
Temuka’s Semisi Paseka and Keith Darby displayed great defensive techniques, shutting down almost every Harlequins attacking move and formed the central core of Temuka’s defence.
After the break there were two more penalties for a 20-3 lead before Temuka’s second try by Sione Osamu in the 65th minute which effectively put the game to rest with 27-3 lead before two more penalties completed the scoring.
Victory for Temuka means the club, formed in 1875, has won the senior A club title a record 42 times which includes two times when combined with Old Boys in 1976 and 1979.
Temuka coach Luke Reihana was pleased with the outcome, especially in a season that was plagued with injuries.
“This was one of the toughest seasons,” Reihana said.
“Injury wise, it is a very pleasing thing to win the cup. We had a lot of them struggling with injuries. But we stuck to our goals and kept building.
“And since we made it to the semis and finals, we knew we had to battle it out 80 minutes each game and put pressure on and the boys did it.”
Andrews congratulated Temuka on their victory and credited his team for putting up a great show during the season.
Harlequins’ manager Brett Jenkins was proud of his team’s performance in this season, but was a tad sad that they couldn’t finish it off in the finals.
“It was a successful season for us, and how we got to the finals; just that we fell short in the finals,” Jenkins said.
“Credit to the way Temuka played (in the finals). They put a lot of pressure on us. We couldn’t get the ball, and they played well.
“Looking back on the season, it was a successful one. Now, we look forward to the season next year.”
In the final for teams finishing 5th-8th, Mackenzie beat Pleasant Point 23-19 while in the senior B final for the Glover Cup, Harlequins beat Pleasant Point 20-8.