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Metro Division 1 Update
An in-form Ryan Crotty has helped move New Brighton to within striking distance of the Metro Division One competition lead.
The Crusaders midfielder, playing at first five-eighth in his side’s 44-17 win against Burnside at Rawhiti on Saturday, scythed through half gaps, tackled ferociously and kept the opposition pinned back with his kicking game.
New Brighton’s six-try performance saw them move to within three points of High School Old Boys, who scored just one try in overcoming Marist-Albion.
The two leading teams square off this Saturday in a mouth-watering penultimate round clash.
Christchurch, who play New Brighton in the final round, also picked up maximum points against Belfast to be just four adrift of Old Boys.
Belfastwere missing key players in pivotal positions because of injury, but did salvage some pride by scoring three tries.
Consecutive losses have dropped the green and golds out of the top six, after they looked on track with four wins in the middle of the round.
Belfastcoach Don Fisher says the team have not yet played to their potential for the full 80 minutes.
“If they do, they should be more than competitive,” he says.
The loss of form appears to coincide with the departure of Fijian international Nemia Ranuku, who returned home last month to push for a spot in his country’s Rugby World Cup squad.
He arrived as a halfback, but also played a starring role in the midfield.
“He scored six tries in four and half games, so he has a bit of the X-factor,” Don says.
“You lose someone like that and it creates a gap, but we’ve got players who can step up and the opportunity is there for them.”
University kept their chances alive with a crushing win over Shirley. No. 8 Jimmy Lentjes scored a hat-trick of tries for the students.
Sumner scored an upset 34-31 win against Linwood at Linfield Park, with replacement John Tainui scoring a push-over try in the 79th minute.
All Blacks and Crusaders lock Sam Whitelock made a welcome return from injury for Lincoln University, playing the first half in a losing cause against DCL Shield holders Sydenham.
Sydenham halfback Paul Howe was a revelation, directing the forwards astutely, feeding his backs well, and making several darting runs into Lincoln’s territory.
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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