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Invercargill made it to the final of the combined Southland rugby competition in 1980 with a 22-14 win over Marist. Brian Hewitt scored a try within five minutes. It resulted from a mis-skewed kick from Kevin Gaines, half back from Marist. Fullback Ron Whelan converted.
The Gaines tried to put things right and when he made a break from the 10 metre line, but was bought down short of the line
20 minutes later, Arthur Pokere for Invercargill chased a chip kick and had many Marist players in pursuit but he won the race to score.
Pokere left the field after this and was replaced by Miles Herdman.
In the second half Marist showed a bit more spark and Gaines beat several defenders to run 15 M and score. This inspired the team and Patrick McGrath with great pace was caught short of the line but set up a ruck for his Marist forwards and they drove him over the line for a great try.
Marist were ahead 12-8 but it was only short lived when Invercargill tightened their defence.
It did not help when front row prop Stephen O'Neill was sent to the sin bin when he had a scuffle with Roger Ramsay.
Marist changed tactics and used the high kick in front of their posts and hard rucking and mauling gave Invercargill a fright and the referee deemed a penalty should be awarded to Invercargill which they converted. McGrath again showed great speed when he ran 40 m to nearly score but it took another 5 minutes when Paul Burrowes went over for a try shortly after.
The game was sealed when Invercargill flanker Colin Millar when over for a try.
INVERCARGILL: Brian Hewitt (1) Arthur Pokere (1) Colin Millar (1) Ron Whelan (2PG) (2con)
MARIST: Paul Burrowes (1) Patrick McGrath (1) Kevin Gaines (1) Peter Hughes (1 Con)
REFEREE; B. Crawford.
Reference: The Southland Times July 1980
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