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It was back to the coal face for some of the Southland players that had semi-finals for the Galbraith Shield. After their 10-7 win over Australia during the week it was imperative that they left that win before and got on with the job at hand. This was certainly what the Tokanui boys did as they had to beat Star to qualify for the finals.
Tokanui reached the final last year but was well and truely beaten by Invercargill. Tokanui have the advantage of playing a lot of rugby, with club, sub union and province. But in saying this it can mean that too much rugby is not a great thing as it can wear you down.
It will definitely be the Dermody brothers that lead the charge, Fergus will find good support from his loose men, Bruce Lamb and Russell Crosbie.
In the tight Gerald Dermoday will be aptly supported by his other brother, Stuart Dermody, Lex Chisholm and David Lamb.
For Star, Bob Barber, Doug Murcott, Craig Hannon, Phillip Butt and Dave McHugh will put up a strong challenge and with Murcott as their main mauler it will be up to him to contain the Tokanui pack, which he has the ability to do.
Both teams took a while to settle down but as predicted it was a Dermody, Fergus that scored the first try. Tokanui was the team that used all 15 players well and as they are usually seen as a strong forward unit, it was actually Les O'Donnell at first five eight. He passed the ball to ensure his wings had to chance to run and Shane O'Donnell and Ashley Blair did this.
Gerald Dermody was absent from the team yesterday and Fergus had to work a lot harder, especially in the lineouts and he knew that he and Dave Lamb could not let Star get a sniff in.
Star had the team to win the game and this was apparent when Lin Booth ran through a gap to put John Ryder in for a good try, but unfortunately mistakes started to creep into their game which resulted in lost opportunities.
Tokanui's two tries came from strong forward play and the loose trio of Stuart Dermody, Bruce Lamb and Russell Crosbie, played text book rugby by putting their bodies on the line.
Down 7-8 Stuart Dermody at No. 8 burst from the scrum on the Star line and tried to dot down but when he couldn't he off loaded to David Wray who did the job. Jeff Gardiner converted and he continually forced himself on the Star team with running into the line at speed. David Wray at halfback was consistently good and his skill of long passes to his first five eight, Les O'Donnell made it harder for the Star defence to get up quickly.
Any punter would have put their money on Star as their team is pretty impressive but it was great to see Tokanui come through and grab the win.
TOKANUI: David Wray (1) Fergus Dermody (1) (1PG) Jeff Gardiner (1con)
STAR: John Ryder (1) Phillip Butt (1)
REFEREE: M Jarvis.
Reference: The Southland Times August 1978
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