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Close games in worst conditions of the year

Above: Wellington College edged St Pat’s Silverstream 15-14 to win the Under 15 title on College Finals Day. PHOTO: Andy McArthur.

  • By Steven White and Scott MacLean

There were a series of close games up and down Hurricanes country today in what were probably the worst conditions of the year.

Heavy rain accompanied by a southerly change from mid morning through to early afternoon proved testing for teams contesting club and college finals and representative rugby matches.

In club rugby, the Division 1 Reserve Grade John Davies Cup was won by the Poneke Ruffnuts, who beat the Upper Hutt Rams Pirates 41-7 in the final at Kilbirnie Park.

In college rugby, Tawa College beat Porirua College 34-12 to win the Premier 2 Murray Jensen Cup. More on the college finals day below.

In representative rugby, there were wins for the Wellington U19s and the Hawke’s Bay U19s in the opening round of the Central Region Shield competition in Palmerston North.

The Wellington U19s lineout proved fruitful in their win over Manawatu.

At Arena Manawatu, Wellington opened their three-match campaign ahead of the National U19 tournament in Taupo with a 28-0 win over the Manawatu U19s.

Wellington scored four converted tries, scoring two in the first half to lead 14-0 at halftime and then doubling their lead by fulltime as steady rain arrived and made for a tough slog through to the fulltime whistle.

Playing into a slight wind in the first half, Wellington put pressure on Manawatu’s lineout, which soon led to their first try.

A kick in general play deep into attacking territory paved the way for a Wellington lineout turnover and a subsequent forwards try through to Petone loosehead prop Niko Manaena.

Wellington’s second try later in the half was the result of consistent pressure at the breakdown and a turnover by hooker Tyrone Thompson that created momentum in general play. A couple of phases later flanker Josh Southall popped a pass to his Upper Hutt Rams teammate Luke Chisholm and the tighthead prop steamed away to score on an angled 30 metre run.

Manawatu regrouped and had the better of the final few minutes of the half but were unable to cross close to the line as Wellington’s defence held firm.

With rain now bucketing down in the second half, Wellington established and maintained a healthy territorial advantage,  first five-eighth Malo Manuao also pinning them inside their 22 with his kicking game. This and an increasingly dominant scrum soon led to their third try with Tawa blindside flanker Jack Sturmey coming up with the try.

Conditions deteriorated and opportunities for both sides became rarer. With a few minutes to play, Wellington’s outside backs won a kicking duel and replacement loosie Iona Apineru ran up the sideline to score their fourth try. Manuao converted this from the corner flag.

The Hurricanes Heartland U20s missed out to the Hawke’s Bay U19s.

Across at the Sport and Rugby Institute, the Hawke’s Bay U19s beat the Hurricanes Heartland side 36-3, after the Junior Magpies held a slender 10-3 halftime lead, after a see-saw battle in the first spell of play.

The Hurricanes Heartland Team were first to score after 5 minutes, through a penalty kick to Arana Murphy, with Hawkes Bay’s Leighton Shaw levelling the score with a penalty of his own after 10 minutes.

The conditions made handling difficult, but Hawke’s Bay made better use of their possession and were rewarded with a converted try after sustained forward pressure on the Hurricanes Heartland goal-line, which was the score as both teams raced off the field to the warmth of the changing rooms.

In the second stanza of the game, costly turnovers after periods of patient build-up by the Hurricanes Heartland side, gifted Hawkes Bay possession of the ball, resulting in a further four touch-downs before full-time, three of which were converted.

Both sides worked well in the torrential rain, but the Junior Magpie forwards set-piece put the Hurricanes Heartland team under pressure at key moments. Both sides will re-group for next week’s matches, with the Hurricanes Heartland team travelling to Wellington, while Hawke’s Bay will host Manawatu.

Conditions were tough in Levin for the Centurions Development team.

Three of Wellington’s representative teams were playing Heartland Championship sides today – and all three lost their matches.

The Wellington Development side missed out 14-15 to the Wanganui Butcher Boys at Cooks Gardens.

Wellington’s points came from a try and conversion to HOBM first-five-eighth Brandyn Laursen and through a penalty try.

UPDATED: The Wellington Samoans were beaten 39-15 by Wairarapa Bush and the Centurions Development team lost 13-17 to Horowhenua Kapiti.

The Centurions led the game 13-12 with 10 minutes remaining but a late try in deteriorating conditions to Horowhenua-Kapiti saw them take the lead and hold onto it until the ref called the game off 5 minutes early.

The Wellington Maori team beat Wanganui B 44-22 in the curtain-raiser to the Development team’s clash.

College Finals

Tawa College ran away with the Premier 2 title.

The mid-morning southerly change in Wellington brought wet, cold, and miserable conditions to St Patrick’s Silverstream for today’s College finals. But what it did do was provide a great leveler, with eight of the 10 finals decided by inside 10 points.

One of those was the Premier 2 final, where Tawa College scored twice early into the elements to open up a lead they wouldnt relinquish en route to a 34-12 win over Porirua College. The latter briefly threatened a comeback, but Tawa pulled clear in a 6 tries to 2 win.

There was an upset in the other marquee final, with Wellington College edging Silverstream 15-14 to win the Under 15 title. College led 15-0 at halftime, but despite the home team scoring twice in the second half they held on to win and deny Silverstream an unbeaten competition season.

Remarkably, both the Premier 3 and 4 titles were shared following draws. In the Premier 4 contest the Scots and St Bernard’s 2nd XV’s drew 13-all, while on the same field following it immediately after Paraparaumu and the Wellington College 2nd XV did likewise with a 10-all scoreline.

Silverstream took the Under 65 title, beating Rongotai 13-5, while Hutt International’s Under 55 side completed an unbeaten season edging HVHS 10-5. Silverstream also took the Under 80 title, beating Town 12-7 in a game marred by a pair of red cards.

In the other finals Aotea blanked Wainuiomata 27-0 in the Under 15 Division 2 final, while Silverstream’s third side scored with two minutes remaining to beat Naenae 22-19 in the Division 3 contest. Kapiti won the Under 65 Division 2 title with a 17-7 win over Tawa.

The Premiership First XV final is being played on Sunday at Jerry Collins Stadium on 12.10pm between Scots College and St Pat’s Silverstream – catch a review and photos and video highlights here on Club Rugby.

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