Country clubs dominated their town counterparts in the opening weekend of the Citizens Shield.
In Oamaru, Kurow edged out Old Boys 31-24 and Maheno beat a youthful Athletic Marist side 42-10.
At Weston, Valley put a marker down with a 66-0 thumping of Excelsior.
Despite missing some of last year’s key players, Valley looked as organised as ever and maintained possession for long periods. Its forward pack was dominant and provided quick possession for the inside back combination of Glen Sturgess and Jake Matthews to release the likes of Matt Vocea and Jake Greenslade.
Excelsior found itself three tries down after 15 minutes, and down 38-0 at halftime, and never looked likely to make a comeback. Its best performers were Samuela Babiau and Tayne Russell.
Maheno eventually proved too strong for Athletic Marist on the main field at Whitestone Contracting Stadium.
Featuring a back line full of firepower, the defending champion took a while to get into its rhythm, leading 14-5 at halftime. The score blew out in the second half as the game opened up.
The young Athletic Marist side can take plenty of heart from its performance many players, it was their first taste of senior premier rugby.
Standout performers for Maheno were centre Jacob Day and loose forward Jackson Attfield, while Tupou Fifita and Fiula Tameilou impressed for Athletic Marist.
The closest match of the round was Kurow’s defeat of Old Boys.
The depth of Kurow’s squad was a major factor in its win, as Old Boys had only 16 players and lost one to a red card early in the second half.
Kurow went into the halftime break with a 12-3 lead, following tries to Tyler Burgess and midfielder Ben Nowell.
Old Boys fought back with tries to Toni Taufa and Lemi Masoe, but Kurow halfback Sam McDonald’s double secured the win for the visitors.
It was a good win for the Kurow players, who looked fit and organised.
Old Boys coach Robbie Breen said he was happy with his team’s efforts.
“To play most of the second half with 14 guys against a team that was incredibly drilled, worked well together and had good match fitness, for us to be in with a chance of winning, I would probably take that – as long as we are improving.”
Old Boys might struggle for numbers tomorrow, but should be “pretty right” for the rest of the season, Breen said.
Kurow hosts Valley at 2.30pm, while Maheno hosts Excelsior and Old Boys plays Athletic Marist at Whitestone Contracting Stadium, both at 2.45pm.
Citizens Shield – Round 1 scores
Valley 66 (Timote Hanipale 2, Jake Greenslade, Matt Vocea, Logan Dunlop, Glen Sturgess, Jake Matthews, Ponipute Qoro, Junior Fakatoufifita, Ben Paton tries; Brad McKenzie 8 con), Excelsior 0.
Maheno 42 (Adam Johnson, Lachie Kingan, Jacob Day, Llew Johnson, Marcus Balchin, Robbie Smith tries; Smith 6 con), Athletic Marist 10 (Paea Fifita, Kadin Turner tries).
Kurow 31 (Tyler Burgess, Ben Nowell, Jack Kelly, Sam McDonald 2 tries; McDonald 3 con), Old Boys 24 (Inoke Naufahu, Toni Taufa, Lemi Masoe tries; Naufahu 3 con, pen).