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Norths win Women’s title with big win over MSP

  • By Adam Julian 

Northern United: 58 (Harmony Ioane 3, Ofa Tuangalu, Paige Misky, Isadore Laio-Laupolo, Sanita Levave, Te-Vaine Maui, Angel Mulu, Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate tries; Arene Landon-Lane 4 con) Marist St Pat’s: 10 (Thamsyn Newton 2 tries)

The Wellington women’s senior competition officially started in 1990 and the most dominant club throughout has been Northern United. They first won the Premiership in 1993 and since then have won the first round Rebecca Liua’ana Trophy and second round Tia Paasi Memorial Trophy 31 times.

In today’s Tia Paasi Memorial Trophy final, Norths overwhelmed first-time finalists Marist St Pats, 58-10.

Much like the Super Rugby Final the previous Saturday, the experienced Norths forwards convincingly outmuscled their rivals despite two defeats to MSP in the regular season.

The Norths pack boasted four past or present Black Ferns and Manu Sina No.8 Nina Foaese who was typically brutal.

Signs were ominous for MSP from the outset with Norths mauling strongly and bullying the scarlet scrum. The first try was scored by tighthead Dora ‘steamroller’ Laupolo, smashing through multiple defenders close to the line.

Norths’ openside Aimee ‘Axe’ Sutorius is 43 years old. The openside flanker is a machine, so tough and fast she’d give Sarah Connor a fright. After 15 minutes she heroically scragged MSP fullback Thamsyn Newton who tried to launch a bold counterattack from inside her 22, pilfering a turnover which allowed Norths set-piece to go to work and collect a second try.

Norths built a 27-0 lead on the back of their pack superiority. Centre and Wellington Pride representative Harmony Ioane was their most elusive back scoring two tries when the ball rarely strayed from the grasp of the forwards.

Except for being axed by Aimee (not the first victim and possibly not the last either) Newton was stoic for MSP. She scored a cracking try just  halftime when the MSP backs finally found some oxygen.

However, with Black Ferns prop Angel Mulu and hooker Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate in the reserves for Norths, MSP’s fightback was short-lived. Both players scored tries as Norths continued their direct, damaging close-quarter running.

Lock Sanita Levave won the Dawn Patelesio medal as the Player of the Final. The former Black Fern, officially capped in Auckland recently, was imperious in the lineouts and typically busy and bruising around the paddock. It was impossible to find fault with any Norths players so resounding their victory.

MSP flankers Jaydah Timu and Maddie Feaunati tackled with real heart while Black Ferns midfielder Monica Tagoai and substitute loose forward Kaitlyn Peachey added zeal. Newton scored the last try or the game and must surely be close to national selection with her consistent all-round excellence.

There was a hoopla around the scheduling of the fixture but judging by the large and vocal crowd, rugby on Matariki day resonates with the general public. The Wellington Pride go into camp tomorrow with the Farah Palmer Cup kicking off on July 16 with Wellington hosting Canterbury at Jerry Collins Stadium at 12:05pm.

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