Marist St Pat’s No. 8 Keelan Whitman scores early in the second half for his team in their Jubilee Cup semi-final win over Northern United. PHOTO: Andy McArthur.
- By Scott MacLean, Steven White, Martyn Bridge and Adam Julian
Jubilee Cup semi-finals results HERE
Hardham Cup semi-finals results HERE
Individual scorers updated as received.
Marist St Pat’s and Tawa will contest next Saturday’s Wellington club rugby Premier Jubilee Cup final.
In today’s semi-finals played under bright blue skies, Marist St Pat’s beat Northern United 48-26 at home at Evans Bay Park and Tawa beat Hutt Old Boys Marist 29-18 away at the Hutt Recreation Ground.
Two of Wellington’s oldest clubs, Petone and Poneke, will constest the Hardham Cup.
In today’s Hardham Cup semi-finals, Petone breezed past Johnsonville 60-7 and Poneke pulled clear late in the game to beat Wainuiomata 46-22 at William Jones Park.
There were also semi-finals today in the Premier 2 Ed Chaney Cup and in the U85kg Division 1 and 2 competitions – details below.
Tawa trounced a listless Hutt Old Boys Marist 29-18 to earn a place in the Jubilee Cup final for a fourth time. At a sun-soaked Hutt Rec, the margin flatted the hosts who were a shadow of the side that stunned Old Boys University a fortnight ago.
Tawa led 22-6 after half an hour and pressed hard for a fourth try, but needless penalties gave HOBM fleeting hope. A try to wing Fereti Soloa, muscling over in the left corner in the grasp of two defenders, made it 22-11 at the break.
Standout Tawa blindside Akira Ieremia essentially put the game out of reach for the Eagles when he emulated Soloa in the opposite corner after a quick tap by Kemara Hauiti-Parapara. Likely to be discarded from the Wellington Lions, Hauiti-Parapara outplayed his rival nine and present representative selection Connor Collins. Hauiti-Parapara cleared well with both pass and boot and varied his attacking options nicely.
The fortunes of Hauiti-Parapara were largely dictated by an imperious forward effort. The first penalty of the match was kicked by Hauiti-Parapara after the Eagles were bent upfront. Following a 35-meter penalty to Brayden Laursen, Tawa applied the blow torch in the lineout mauling over for the first try.
Tawa’s superiority wasn’t restricted to only their forwards. Fullback Maui Wallace scored an outstanding try when he flashed through a hole at halfway. The ball was then chipped ahead by a supporting player and Wallace followed up to touchdown. Unfortunately, he left the field injured shortly afterwards.
Wing Randall Bishop is a two-time Jubilee Cup winner and he showed his winning qualities with a try after a breakout involving multiple Tawa players from near halfway.
HOBM showed glimpses of optimism in the second-half. An earnest chase and fortuitous bounce helped close the gap to 29-18, but even with a one-man advantage for the last ten minutes a lack of accuracy combined with tenacious Tawa defense saw the Eagles promising season fizzle out.
Flanker Jordan Gillies battled doggedly despite his left arm appearing to have been sewn on. Rookie lock Jono Little persevered and No.8 Mike Alaifatu was honest.
Other marquee performances from Tawa were produced by openside Western Sao and second-five Lumafale Lualua. Both tackled extremely well. First-five Luke Cummings employed his right boot to good effect and locks Hem Fermanis and Tito Ioane are an experienced pair. Off the bench Ben Aumua Peseta and Hugo Plummer were busy.
Reserve flanker Lipa Saveatama was sent off for a high tackle, an incident to be reviewed at the judiciary.
Unlike HOBM, Marist St Pat’s benefited from the week off last Saturday, to win well at home against Northern United.
With TJ Perenara at first five-eighth, Norths made a fast start, sending left wing Reon Paul over for his 10th try in his last four Premier starts.
Tighthead prop Tui Tuia crashed over from close range for MSP on penalty advantage to make it 7-7.
A turnover by No. 8 Luca Rees saw Norths spread the ball both ways and back towards the posts for halfback Campbell Woodmass to score off. Fullback Dale Sabbagh added the conversion to make it 14-7.
MSP then lost captain and openside James Tuia to the sin-bin for a late tackle, but MSP were next to score after a burst up the far side by No. 8 Keelan Whitman, quick recycling and a dart at the line by left wing Rez Tasale.
On 30 minutes, Norths hooker Ethan Robinson-Mate scored off a lineout drive, putting them up 19-14.
MSP then struck back with a try to lock James Zino after a series of pick and drives close the line, flyhalf James Proctor added the conversion and MSP led 21-19 at the break.
The home side struck the first blow of the second half through No. 8 Whitman, after a penalty and lineout drive.
A monster long-range penalty to Proctor then saw MSP go 30-19 up with over 25 minutes still to play.
MSP went further ahead with a second Proctor penalty and try to fullback Andrew Wells, after blindside flanker Josh To’omaga charged down a Perenara kick. This made it 38-19 and Norths now had to score three times to win.
They got one score back, with hooker Robinson-Mate scoring his second try and closing the gap to 38-26.
Norths got themselves back down hot on attack, but the match-sealing moment for MSP came from deep, following a one-on-one strip in the tackle by Proctor and a hack ahead into open territory by second five Ofa Siale. The winger-turned midfielder showed a clean pair of heels to hack the ball ahead again and win the race to the tryline to send MSP to the Jubilee Cup final.
Petone beat Johnsonville 60-7 in their Hardham Cup semi final at home on the Petone Rec No 2 field.
Petone clicked into life almost from the opening whistle, while Johnsonville barely fired a shot all match.
Petone won 10 tries to one. They scored four tries in the first half and six in the second half, and led 22-0 at half time. Petone left wing Richard Evans spread his tentacles in scoring a hat trick of tries, and fullback Ben Brooking scored two. Five individuals also found the whitewash for Petone.
Johnsonville were chasing the game early after Petone scored their first two tries to lead 12-0 inside five minutes. Petone were rampant early and Johnsonville fell off all their early their tackles to let wing Sam Blackburn and centre Riley Higgins to score.
Petone’s third try was the try of the match, New Zealand U20’s centre, Higgins made a typically explosive break up the centre of the field. He was cut down on the 22, but quick recycling and a cross-kick by first-five Carne Green out to captain and flanker Jacob Gooch in the corner resulted in the try. Petone scored their fourth try just before half time from another break, to fullback Brooking.
Johnsonville had an encouraging period of play just before halftime and immediately after, but a turnover in the tackle led to Petone counter-attacking and scoring again through Brooking to make it 29-0.
The game was effectively over moments later when Johnsonville blindside Serge Hollis was red-carded for an incident on the far side, and the game also went to golden oldies scrums at this point.
Ironically, Johnsonville scorched in to score a well taken try off a scrum from halfway involving a break by second five Andrew Ellis, and left wing Aaron Fawkes scoring in the corner.
That was Johnsonville’s high point, as Petone took charge once more and scored another five tries to complete a comfortable win, so much so that referee Lawler blew full time two minutes early, according to the scoreboard clock overlooking the unused No. 1 field in the distance.
A storming performance by first five Pakai Turia in his 100th Premier match and Poneke’s bench paved the way for their 24-point winning margin over Wainuiomata in their Hardham Cup semi-final. Poneke were down to 13 players at one stage, but a fourth quarter scoring spree saw them pull clear and win well in the end.
Poneke opened the scoring with a try from an attacking scrum to No. 8 Greg Foe. Poneke went close to scoring a second try but were held out by stoic defence. But a penalty from another attacking scrum saw Pakai convert to extend their lead to 10-0 after 20 minutes.
The run of play remained with the visitors, who missed another possible try but for a forward pass. A long injury break gave Wainuiomata a chance to re-group. They won a penalty and kicked for the lineout in the corner. This was held out, but another penalty in mid-field saw No. 8 Teru Crash over. Halfback Jordan King added the extras and Poneke’s lead was 10-7 late in the first half.
Poneke missed a shot at goal and that score remained going into halftime.
Home side Wainuiomata then sensationally hit the lead at 12-10 early in the second half, centre Caleb Nicholas scoring in the corner after an attacking scrum and fast hands through the backs.
Poneke came right back to score, pouncing on a loose pass after the re-start and right wing Ethan Coffin scoring out wide. Turia slotted the conversion and Poneke were now ahead 17-12.
The visitors soon got back on attack and went close to finding the tryline, but for a turnover and clearance. But Poneke were given a penalty right in front, which Turia slotted to extend the advantage to 20-12.
Discipline almost cost Poneke at this point in the contest, losing two players to the sin-bin for misguided tackling techniques and they conceded a pushover try and it was now 20-17 inside the final 15 minutes.
That was close as Wainuiomata got. A penalty miss by Poneke was followed by what proved to be the match-clinching try. Second five Jimmy Hewitt made a searing break and set up openside flanker Hauwai McGahan to score out wide. The conversion was good and it was now 27-17 with 9 minutes to play.
A booming up and under by Turia was then collected by left wing Isaac Moe-Jenkins and he sprinted away to make it 34-17. Now with 15 players back on the field, Moe-Jenkins was in again after a grubber and regather by Turia, followed by a break by Turia and a try to scrumhalf Lee-Hongara and suddenly it was 46-17.
The flourishing late scoring was not over, with Wainuiomata scoring a consolation on fulltime.
Tawa will be the only club with two teams at the Petone Rec next Saturday, with the second side aiming for an unbeaten season after overcoming the Upper Hutt Rams 38-20 at Lyndhurst today (see report below). They’ll face HOBM in the Ed Chaney Cup final after the Eagles ventured to Porirua Park and beat Norths 25-24.
In the HD Morgan Memorial, the field is set for next weekend’s quarter-finals. At the tail end, the Wellington Axemen almost did enough to sneak in by winning with four tries against Petone White, but the Villagers loss by less than seven – 27-21 – is enough to see them through. With leaders Wainuiomata on the bye, Petone Blue secured second on the ladder with a 31-21 win over Norths White, while Stokes Valley leapt ahead of the latter by edging out Johnsonville 27-26 at Newlands Park. In the final match Pare-Plim and Avalon couldn’t be separated in an entertaining 36-all draw, with the Wolves superior points difference putting them ahead of the Hammerheads in the seeding.
It was 1v4 at Lyndhurst Park as Tawa sought to take their unbeaten season record into next weeks decider, but faced an Upper Hutt Rams side determined to complete their elevation from Division 2 in style. After some willing exchanges in the opening minutes it was the home side that opened matters with a penalty, followed by a rapid-fire pair of tries – the second through first-five Hawaiki Wallace – that had them out 17-0 after 20 minutes. The Rams regrouped however and closed the margin to 17-12 through a pair of their own. The first was a well-worked set piece move that saw Sione Uvea stroll over while the second came from their forwards muscling up, but lost No8 Chris Lafaele to the bin on halftime for a late tackle with Wallace knocking over the penalty.
The Rams introduced Premier veteran Jamie Norman at the break and he made an immediate impact as they crossed early despite the man disadvantage. Tawa later made a similar move; having driven deep into the Rams half and won a scrum Peniasi Tokakece came on and worked a simple 8-9 with Jono Boyd to put the latter across. With 15 minutes to go Rams skipper Kono Feaunati slotted a 40m drop goal while under penalty advantage to close matters to 25-20 and with Wallace sinbinned for the offence it was game on. However it was Tawa that finished the stronger, kicking a penalty to put the margin out to 8 points and then Ryan Preston punished a dropped ball in midfield with what proved to be the winning try, before another penalty provided the final score.
Avalon and Johnsonville will contest next weekend’s Paul Potiki Shield Under 85kg Division 1 Final after very contrasting semifinals that both ended in tense finishes.
At Fraser Park the top-seeded Wolves found themselves in all sorts of bother against a fired-up Upper Hutt Rams side determined not to relinquish their crown. The Rams led 18-3 into the second half and a boilover was on the cards, but Avalon came roaring back with three second-half tries to prevail 22-21.
At Helston Park Johnsonville leapt out to an early 21-3 lead in as many minutes over first-round winners Eastbourne before the Gulls sorted themselves out and the game turned into the sort of ding-dong points-fest not usually associated with the grade, with the Hawks eventually holding on against an almighty comeback to win 38-32
The Division 2 Tony O’Brien Shield final will be between the OBU Scallywags and either the Wellington Axemen or Stokes Valley OBU beat HOBM 38-24, while the Axemen and Stokes Valley in the other semi-final.
Visitors Wellington College beat Mana College 15-0 in the last match of Round Seven in the Premiership First XV competition.
Wellington is second in the standings with two matches to play, a point ahead of St Patrick’s College, Silverstream who host fourth-placed St Pats Town in a traditional fixture on Wednesday.
On a pudgy field, the first 10 minutes looked like both schools were still in school holiday mode. The ball was tough to handle and scrums were frequent. This suited Wellington College who scored from a clever set-play involving dummy runners. No.8 Ashton Teau dotted down. The halftime score was 5-0.
Mana went within a whisker of scoring shortly after the break, but the best they could offer were sporadic attacks from deep. Deprived of possession Mana tackled their guts out. Three times they held Wellington up over the line and the ferocity of their tackling actually improved the longer the game went. There were only two lapses. Midfielder Tofuka Paongo breezed through a vacant midfield to make it 10-0 and wing Josh Williams was isolated beside a smaller opposite and duly delivered a third try.