Crescent Upsets Defending Champions West Taieri in Southern Region Rugby Clash

Crescent defeated defending champions West Taieri 31-15 in a Southern Region rugby match, their first win over West Taieri since 2019. The victory lifted Crescent to second on the table, one point behind leaders Clutha, in a closely contested title race.

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Nitish Verma
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Crescent Upsets Defending Champions West Taieri in Southern Region Rugby Clash

Crescent Upsets Defending Champions West Taieri in Southern Region Rugby Clash

Crescent pulled off a stunning 31-15 upset victory over defending champions West Taieri in a Southern Region rugby match held in Outram, New Zealand on May 11, 2024. Crescent's win, built on a foundation of physicality and tenacious defense, sent a clear message to the competition that they could be serious title contenders this season.

The match started brightly for West Taieri, with pivot Callum Smeaton slotting three early penalties to give the home side a 9-0 lead. But Crescent refused to be rattled, striking back with two tries to halfback Josh Cook late in the first half to take a 14-9 lead into the break.

Crescent took control in the second half, with prop Setu Enoka crossing for two more tries to extend the visitors' lead. West Taieri struggled to find any rhythm on attack and were held tryless for the first time since entering the competition. "We just couldn't get anything going with the ball in hand," lamented West Taieri captain Tim Horton after the match.

In other Southern Region action, Clutha joined the congested top three with a 53-6 drubbing of Clinton, running in seven unanswered second half tries to retain the Speight's Jug and the Helen Huddleston/George McKenzie Memorial Trophy. Clutha Valley staged a second half comeback to defeat Owaka 57-28, while Toko recorded their first win in Heriot since 2004 with a 36-27 triumph.

The Southern Region competition has a long and storied history dating back over a century. West Taieri had been the dominant force in recent years, winning three of the last five titles. But Crescent's emphatic victory on Saturday has shaken up the competition and sets the stage for a fascinating title race in 2024.

Crescent's 31-15 win over West Taieri was their first against the defending champions since 2019 and just their third ever. The away victory lifted Crescent to second on the table, one point behind leaders Clutha. With the top four teams separated by just two points, the 2024 Southern Region title is shaping up as the most closely contested in years.

Key Takeaways

  • Crescent defeats defending champions West Taieri 31-15 in Southern Region rugby match.
  • Crescent's win built on physicality and tenacious defense, sending a message to the competition.
  • West Taieri struggled to find rhythm on attack, held tryless for the first time in the competition.
  • Crescent's victory lifts them to 2nd on the table, one point behind leaders Clutha.
  • The 2024 Southern Region title is shaping up as the most closely contested in years.