Early spice was added to the Mitre 10 Heartland competition as a result of upsets in the first round of games on Saturday.
West Coast provided a big surprise in their 56-27 win over King Country in Greymouth. They got out to a 39-10 lead by halftime, finishing with eight tries to King Country’s four while goal kicker Todd Struthers cashed in with five conversions and two penalty goals for a 16-point haul.
North Otago beat neighbour and long time rival South Canterbury, the beaten finalist in last season’s Meads Cup final, 26-20 in Timaru where North Otago goal kicker Robbie Smith punished the home side by landing four penalty goals to make up for the four tries to two South Canterbury posted.
Wairarapa Bush started strongly at home in Masterton when beating Wanganui 28-18 with Tipene Haira backing their three tries by converting two and adding three penalty goals.
Mitre 10 Heartland Week One results:
Thames Valley 15 (Kieran Lee 2, Danny Kayes tries)
Poverty Bay 17 (Riki Terekia Andrew Tauatevalu 2 tries; Tauatevalu con).
Buller 54 (James Lash 2, T Manawatu 2, Robbie Malneeek, Alex Paterson, Jack Best, Petaia Saukuru tries; Lash 7 con)
East Coast 19 (Hakarangi Tichborne 2, Mitchell Crosswell tries; Zane King 2 con).
Mid Canterbury 10 (Seta Koroitamana, Josh McAtamney tries)
Horowhenua Kapiti 17 (Scott Cameron, Nardus Eramus tries; Himiona Henare 2 con, pen). HT: 5-17
West Coast 56 (Josh Tomlinson 2, Boris van Bruchem, Dan Davis, Brad Tauwhare, Jesse Pitman-Joass, Nick Thomson, Jared Mitchell tries; Todd Struthers 5 con, 2 pen)
King Country 27 (Aletosio Tapili, Stephen Turner, Chulainn Mabbett-Sowerby, Bradly Jeffries tries; Evann Reihana 2 con, pen). HT: 39-10
South Canterbury 20 (Siu Kakala 2, Nick Strachan tries; Faalele Iosua con, pen)
North Otago 26 (Melikisua Kolinisau, Howard Packman tries; Robbie Smith 2 con, 4 pen). HT: 10-7
Wairarapa Bush 28 (Tristan Flutey, Sam Tufuga, Logan Hebenton-Prendeville tries; Tipene Haira 2 con, 3 pen)
Wanganui 18 (Roman Tutauha, Lindsay Horrocks tries; Dane Whale con, pen; Craig Clarke dropped goal). HT: 15-8