Wanganui and South Canterbury, the winner and runner-up for the Meads Cup last year, continue to set the pace in the Mitre 10 Heartland Championship putting a buffer between themselves and the chasing pack in seventh round action on Saturday.
Wanganui demonstrated their dominance of the competition with a 28-0 win over third-placed Buller in Westport. They added to their cause by also claiming the four-try bonus point.
South Canterbury also claimed the maximum points when beating North Otago 44-14. Wanganui goes into the last round on 34 points and South Canterbury on 32.
Mid Canterbury slipped into third on 27 points, two ahead ahead of Buller with their 38-22 win over Thames Valley. Wairarapa Bush have a share of fourth with Buller after their 32-30 win over Poverty Bay.
Wanganui will play Horowhenua Kapiti at home in next week’s final round while South Canterbury will be home to Mid Canterbury. Buller will play King Country in Taupo while Wairarapa Bush will be at home to East Coast.
Heartland results, Round Seven:
Wanganui 28 (Blake Hohaia, Malakai Volau, Jamie Hughes, Gavin Thornbury tries; Craig Clare 2 con)
North Otago 16 (Matt Duff, Matthew Vocea tries; Josh Casey con, pen)
South Canterbury 44 (Willie Wright, Nick Annear 2, John Dyer, Kalavani Leatigaga, Nick Strachan tries; Wright 4 con)
Mid Canterbury 38 (Seta Koroitamana, Christian Vainerere, Jon Dampney, Mike Lynch, Kody Nordquist tries; Jarred Percival 4 con)
Thames Valley 22 (Lance Easton, Sam Stanley, Hayden Wisnewski tries; Moss Doran con; Beau Hamilton pen)
East Coast 24 (Sam Parkes, Perrin Manuel, Todd Doolan tries; Doolan 3 con)
King Country 72 (John Koko, Sam Mason, Dean Church 3, Gary Mansfield, Brian Mansfield, Adam Morris, Whakataki Cunningham, Kieron Rollinson tries; Zayn Tipping 4 con, Rollinson 2 con)
Poverty Bay 30 (Siosiua Moala, Ratu Daurua, Isaiah Leach, Murray Hewson tries; Issiah Vuki 3 con)
Wairarapa Bush 32 (Eddie Cranston 2, Peni Rokoduguni 2 tries; Andy Humberstone 4 con). HT: 16-24
Horowhenua Kapiti 52 (Tyson Maki, Warwick Lahmert, Scott Cameron, Ethan Pollock, William Lander, Willie Paia’aua 2 tries; Warwick Lahmert 5 con)
West Coast 22 (Kevin Curtis, David Crouchley, Logan Heath tries; Nik Cumming 2 con)