- By Steven White, Martyn Bridge, Adam Julian and Scott MacLean.
Jubilee Cup results HERE
Hardham Cup results HERE
Sunday morning updates: The semi-finalists have been confirmed for next weekend’s Jubilee and Hardham Cup top four playoff rounds, after a dramatic day of club rugby around the Wellington region.
With wild weather also playing it’s part, the on-field action also blew many people away who witnessed the events unfold across the region.
The up-shot is that next week’s Premier Jubilee Cup semi-finals will see top seed Petone host defending champions Tawa and Hutt Old Boys Marist play defending Northern United at the Hutt Rec.
The two Hardham Cup semi-finals see Old Boys University meet the Upper Hutt Rams at Nairnville Park and Oriental-Rongotai and Wainuiomata clash in the eastern suburbs.
In today’s two Jubilee Cup matches, Northern United leapt to an early lead then weathered a comeback before beating Marist St Pat’s 35-29 at Jerry Collins Stadium, while Tawa laid on a buffet of tries in the middle stages of the contest against Poneke at Kilbirnie Park in winning 36-16.
The four Hardham Cup games that served as virtual quarter-finals resulted in two comfortable wins for the top two seeds, with Old Boys University quelling Avalon’s challenge 74-0 at Nairnville Park and Oriental-Rongotai holding off the Wellington Axemen 65-11 at Polo 2.
The other two games were closer, the Upper Hutt Rams beating the Johnsonville Hawks 36-17 at Maidstone Park after leading 33-12 at halftime and Wainuiomata defeating Paremata-Plimmerton 14-10 at Ngati Toa Domain.
It is thus the end of the line for the six losing teams today, Poneke, MSP (Jubilee Cup) and Paremata-Plimmerton, Johnsonville, Avalon and Wellington (Hardham Cup) all bowing out for 2022.
In some extended Premier reporting from this afternoon, Norths started the game playing from the scoreboard end and scored an early try. From a scrum just outside the MSP 22, first five Jackson Garden-Bachop delivered a long pass to left wing Junior Time Taotua who beat the first tackle then grubbered through for fullback Johnny Teleaga to score off.
Norths then went in for their second try soon after. From a messy scrum, No. 8 Luca Rees broke off and gave a lovely pass to second five Faraimo Nofoaiga, who streaked through to score in front of the clubrooms scored to make it 12-0 inside 10 minutes.
Andrew Wells (MSP) and Garden-Bachop (Norths) then banged over penalties to advance the score to 15-3, before Norths went over again for their third try.
From another messy scrum, halfback Mike Teofilo passed to blindside Callum Watts-Pointer to cross under the sticks and make it 22-3 at over a point a minute.
Both sides then had players sent to the sin-bin as MSP regrouped and sent No. 8 Keelan Whitman over in his 50th game. Wells’ conversion made it 22-10 heading into halftime.
Norths started the second half hot on attack, but MSP centre Ben Tuiatua stole an intercept and sprinted 95 metres to cut the gap to 22-17.
The visitors then hit the front through a try to right wing Tuga Mativa, converted from the sideline by Wells.
Garden-Bachop reclaimed the lead for Norths with a penalty with about 20 minute to play, before Watts-Pointer scored his second try after an attacking scrum and pressure near the line. The conversion made it 32-24 to Norths.
But MSP weren’t done yet, scoring again to cut the deficit to 32-29, after a break up field and try to replacement forward Curtis Finn – setting up a big finish with seven minutes still to play. But a late Garden-Bachop penalty sealed the win.
At Kilbirnie Park, several participants, including the scheduled referee, Jamie Fairmaid, and a couple of key Poneke players went down this morning with Covid. Fairmaid was replaced by Jack Sargentina, whilst Poneke’s changes included Caleb Robson starting at first five and Jimmy Hewitt moving from openside flanker to second five.
Poneke had the wind at their backs in the first half and opened the scoring with the first of three Sam Howling penalties, but Tawa fullback Randall Bishop scored the game’s opening try. Tawa first five Trent Renata also kicked a penalty and Poneke were leading 9-8 with halftime closing in.
Poneke pounced to score a try through second five Hewitt at the Kilbirnie Pool end of the ground and the home side were ahead 16-8. But right on halftime Tawa scored their second try through Hurricanes U20s right wing Isi Saumaki and Renata converted to cut Poneke’s lead to 16-15.
Tawa then burst forth with two telling tries early in the second half – both scored by Saumaki, to complete his hat-trick, and converted by Renata. Regular hooker Lotu Nuku was a late change to play No. 8 and when he crossed the line with about 10 minutes to play Tawa’s lead was 20 and they had scored 28 unanswered points.
Over at the Polo Ground, the Axemen actually led Ories 6-5 midway through the first half, but the Magpies swooped over the latter part of the first half and throughout the second with the wind in their favour to win comfortably. The bus left the station, right wing Julian Savea scoring four tries. Left wing Sam Tautiaga and centre Skivi Va’a also scored two tries.
At Nairnville Park, OBU halfback Kyle Preston also scored four tries, as part of OBU’s 12 tries to nil victory over the Wolves. First five Callum Harkin scored two tries and and also kicked 7 conversions for 24 points.
At Maidstone Park, home team the Upper Hutt Rams scored four first half tries and one early in the second spell to seal the deal against Johnsonville. No. 8 Toby Crosby scored two of their tries and openside flanker Dan Schrijvers, prop Francisco Wolfgramm and right wing Tyrone Maraku the others. Johnsonville had opened the game’s scoring with an early try to wing Knox Tuinasau, but it wasn’t until after the Rams had laid on five of their own that they crossed for two more.
Up at Ngati Toa Domain, Wainuiomata held off a fast-finishing Paremata-Plimmerton side 14-10 in blustery conditions.
The rain cleared well before kick-off but the ground was heavy, with a couple of large pools of water in the middle of the field, so the windy and wet underfoot conditions played a dominant role in the game.
Wainuiomata spent much of the second half protecting a 14-5 lead, including the final 10 minutes hard on defence in front of their own line. The home side finally scored, but with only one minute to play so ran out of time.
Wainuiomata had first use of the wind and goal kicking openside flanker Matt Jacobs began proceedings soon after the opening whistle with a 40-metre penalty.
The visitors dominated possession and territory throughout most of the rest of the first half but could only break through for one try. This was scored in the 20th minute after veteran first five Uale Mai ran hard at the advantage line from a ruck inside the 22 after Paremata-Plimmerton failed to clear properly under pressure, and helped set up a try to wing Renata Kotohi in the righthand corner which was unconverted.
In the 34th minute, Jacobs kicked his second long-range penalty to extend their lead to 11-0.
Wainuiomata should have scored a second try right on halftime but they knocked on over the line after a series of pick-and-goes by the forwards from another scrum in prime position.
Paremata-Plimmerton made a poor start to the second half when their opening kick-off went dead, allowing Wainuiomata to restart with a scrum on halfway.
Wainuiomata worked their way up field and Jacobs banged his third penalty through the posts to make it 14-0.
Home side the Hammerheads hit back with their first scoring play of the match, their forwards crossing the line following a penalty and lineout in the corner. This was unconverted, but Wainui’s lead was now 14-5.
From the next kick-off, a Paremata-Plimmerton player made a clean break up past halfway and kicked ahead but was tackled late by Wainuiomata fullback Campbell Cowie. Cowie was lucky to not be shown a card, but Paremata-Plimmerton fullback Blake Neve’s subsequent penalty hit the posts and missed, so Wainuiomata clung on to their 14-5 advantage.
Much of the rest of the game was played between the 22s, until the home side worked their way up into a try-scoring position. They launched a couple of furious assaults on the line but were held out. When they finally did cross, there was no time left on the clock, and their season ended moments later.
Tawa remains firmly in control of the Premier 2 Division 1 Ed Chaney Cup, keeping their long unbeaten streak intact by vanquishing Avalon 66-7 at Lyndhurst. HOBM moved back into second after beating Norths 31-17 at home, while Poneke saw off a depleted OBU 39-17 in the early game at Nairnville. The fourth match saw Ories continue their rise from a slow start by beating MSP 40-19.
In the Division 2 HD Morgan Memorial Stokes Valley confirmed top seeding for the playoffs after beating the Upper Hutt Rams 29-12. Petone are the second seeds after blanking Pare-Plim 62-0, while Johnsonville are third after edging Wainuiomata 27-25 in their relocated game at Helston Park. They now move into their playoffs, though there is some confusion over the playoff format to now follow.
A sodden Delaney Park greeted Stokes Valley and the Upper Hutt Rams’ for their final round Premier 2 HD Morgan match.
The hosts made the brightest start, with first-five Pati Crichton skipping over after just 8 minutes. But the Rams hit back with a sustained period of pressure on the Rhino’s line before one of their front rowers busted their way over. Crichton would kick a penalty at the midway point, but the game largely fell into a pattern of scrums as both sides struggled to get a handle in the conditions. With the ground quickly resembling something from the Battle of the Somme eventually something would break, and a well-worked set piece move by Stokes put fullback Joseph Tevaga over. Tevaga would add a second soon thereafter, but with the hosts reduced to 13 by a quick pair of yellow cards the Rams would close the gap to give themselves an outside chance. That wouldn’t materialise, as a charge-down in midfield saw the home side regather and sprint 70 metres to end matters and grab a bonus point.
Petone maintained their lead in the Colts Paris Memorial Trophy as they head into their bye next week, beating Wellington 33-7 at Hataitai Park.
OBU remain their nearest pursuers after they rebounded from their shocker last week to beat Tawa 37-15 while OBU’s vanquishers last week – HOBM – kept the pressure on with a hard-fought 24-12 win over Pare-Plim in tough going on Ngati Toa 4.
HOBM had first use of the wind but only led 5-0 at halftime as Paremata-Plimmerton disrupted their attack at every opportunity. HOBM broke through for their second try early in the second half but the Hammerheads Hatchlings kept the pressure on and their right wing collected a loose pass and ran 50 metres to score to cut the lead to 12-7.
HOBM finally pulled clear with tries to first five Kobe Joe-Vulu and centre Sapati Tagoai – both from first phase attacking scrums in the 22. The home side were rewarded for their endeavour with a late second try.
At the foot of the table Avalon put winless Johnsonville to the sword winning 50-17, and Poneke got just their second win of the season by beating Wainuiomata 52-24. MSP had the bye and remain fourth.
The round-robin in the lightweights came to its conclusion the 11th and final round of the JC Bowl.
Johnsonville had already wrapped up the title last weekend, but were made to work by the Upper Hutt Rams in their top-of-the table clash before prevailing 20-16 to keep their unbeaten record ahead of receiving the trophy.
Pending confirmation of the Rams’ points deduction, Poneke finished second after swamping Avalon 36-0, with the OBU Scallywags sailing into third after beating MSP 43-17. The Rams and Stokes Valley split fourth with Valley not even having to take the field after HOBM defaulted to them this morning, Wellington produced a minor upset in beating Eastbourne 19-15, and Petone kept Wests winless and reclaimed their interclub Gareth Head Memorial Trophy with a 41-7 win at the Ian Galloway cage.
The grade now splits for the balance of the season. The Top 8 sides will progress to a hybrid-style format for the next three weeks – details to be confirmed by WRFU on Monday – where the major concern will be to complete the five remaining National Club Cup Knockout fixtures, while the bottom four – Petone, MSP, HOBM, and Wests enter into a second round-robin for the Division 2 prize.
Silverstream go into the holiday break clear at the top of the College Premiership after beating Scots 19-15 in the feature game of the day out on the peninsula. Wellington College are second, and albeit with the bye to come, after they slugged past Mana 19-8, and St Pats Town moved into third after they beat Rongotai 22-10. The fourth match of the day saw Hutt International grab their third win of the campaign, nosing out Wairarapa College 15-12 at Trentham. St Bernards had the bye.
In Premier 2 the Silverstream 2nds and Upper Hutt remain unbeaten after big wins; Stream beating Taita 42-8 and Upper Hutt 45-7 over the Town 2nds. Bishop Viard were also big winners, 53-5 over Naenae, while the Wellington College 2nds won a high-scoring contest 36-29 over Aotea, and Paraparaumu likewise 38-27 over Hutt Valley HS.
Match report: St Pat’s Silverstream stayed unbeaten in the Premiership with their four-point win over Scots College.
It was the 13th time in the last 17 games the two schools have been split by less than a converted try.
Scots had the benefit of the fierce, swirling northerly in the first half. Despite scoring the first try, through a forward rumble, they didn’t use the wind as effectively as they could have. It was Silverstream who largely dictated territory and possession. Wing and head prefect Seejay Harawira profited with two tries in the left corner, both provided by the damaging and nimble Emmanuel Solomona.
Scots outside back Pyrness Boyle-Tiatia kicked a handy penalty and it was 12-8 to Silverstream at halftime.
Scots rallied strongly at the start of the second-half. With a combination of boot and brawn Ietiaia Campbell troubled the visitors defence. Scots line out was a strength and a drive over put them ahead 13-12. The conversion from Boyle-Tiaitia looked like it came from the Prynees, swinging back a mile from the sideline. Silverstream dramatically regained the lead a short while later. Solomona drew in three defenders with a thumping charge and offloaded to David Tokalautawa who flashed from the ten-metre mark to the 22. He stumbled but rose again and bounced over. The conversion made it 19-15.
Tokalautawa later suffered cramp, Silverstream’s openside departed and a lock deputised on the wing as the Catholics hung on grimly. How grimly? Scots had a penalty advantage when down 19-15. Campbell cross-kicked to the wing who caught the ball and touched down. The whistle was blown to enforce the penalty while the ball was in the air.
Scots prop Samu Moli and featherweight lock Harry Iriving won acclaim for their industry. Silverstream captain Toby Mallon was valiant and replacement halfback Oliver Cluff made some telling contributions.