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Hardham Cup hearty finals moments

Oriental-Rongotai and Old Boys University will contest the 2022 Hardham Cup final on Saturday. It’s not the big dance that both clubs want to be at, but winning will be good consolation for both for another hard-fought season. Below we have put together  a compilation of clips and photos from each of the Hardham Cup finals since 2010 (not including 2017 as there was no final that year). 

2021: Poneke defeated Petone 32-24 –  in extra time.  With time almost up in regulation Petone failed to clear the ball into touch. Poneke built phases, advanced ahead, and eventually reserve forward James Mose muscled over beside the posts to make it 24-22. The conversion was kicked by first-five Pakai Turia and the game was extended for 20 minutes. The run of play remained tight as a drum into extra time, until Poneke scored the match-winner with a couple of minutes to play in the far left corner of play (below).


2020: Wainuiomata openside flanker Sam Smith broke open a mostly scrappy 2020 Hardham Cup final with this try early in the second half. It was enough to give them a 17-15 win.


2019: Evergreen Marist St Pat’s flyhalf Fa’atonu Fili laid on a great pass here below to centre Isaia Petelo to score a decisive try to put MSP up 25-14 against Old Boys University in the 2019 Hardham Cup decider. OBU had led 14-8 at the break, but this try and a penalty was enough for MSP to hold on and win 28-22.


2018: The Hardham Cup final resumed after the 2017 was a straight 10-round-robin won by the Upper Hutt Rams. Petone and Wainuiomata met in the final and it was Petone that ran hot in the first half, racing to a winning 17-0 lead at halftime and then 22-5 early in the second spell. Petone’s four tries in the final were scored by Adam Simpson, Josh Onekawa, Dylan Williamson and Taurima Morris.


2016: Hooker James O’Reilly and No. 8 Lise Soloa scored two tries in torrential rain in this Friday night final against Petone as they  won the Hardham Cup final 17-5.


2015: Murphy Taramai (centre) and teammates celebrate hooker Eli Hunt’s try for the Upper Hutt Rams against the Johnsonville Hawks in the 2015 Hardham Cup final. Hunt scored the Rams’ only try of the decider, second five Joyner Key kicking their other 17 points in the 22-19 win.


2014: Poneke halfback Edwin Ainley scored all his team’s points in the final. Ainley scored Poneke’s first try and kicked all their points in their 19-9 win over Northern United. Poneke led 10-6 at halftime and held on throughout the second half with typically gritty defence.



2013: Northern United beat the Wellington Axemen 26-16 to win this final. Coming off a 10-9 win over Upper Hutt in the semi-finals, the Axemen were always going to be in the fight. They also had future All Black Vaea Fifita in their ranks, who burst clear below for a key try. But a try in reply to Norths captain and hooker Henry Smith proved the match-turner and Norths edged ahead. Smith held the Hardham Cup high on the Hutt Rec afterwards.



2012: Poneke had Dane Coles at hooker, who scored a big first half try for Poneke as they held off Old Boys University 20-17 in the final at the Petone Rec.


2011: In the ensuing decade, Tawa went on to bigger and brighter things, such as winning the Swindale-Jubilee double in an unbeaten 2013 season and winning the Jubilee Cup again in 2016 and 2021. But in 2011 the club on the rise was celebrating winning the Hardham Cup for the third time since 2003. When lock lock Pati Gaualofa scored his try Tawa led Old Boys University 25-8 in the final. But some spirited play by OBU and ill-discipline saw the final score reading 25-20 to Tawa.


2010: An ecstatic Wainuiomata won their second Hardman Cup since 2007 with a comfortable 31-10 victory over Avalon. Wainuiomata lock Shahn Eru became the second lock in three years to score two tires in a Hardman Cup final after Na Ioane achieved the feat for Tawa against Wainuiomata in 2008 in a 33-20 win. Eru’s 12th try of the season also confirmed him as the top try scoring forward in Wellington club rugby in 2010.

Wainui lock Shahn Eru stretches to score. Wellington club rugby Hardham Cup final between Avalon and Wainuiomata at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand on Sunday, 15 August 2010. Photo: Dave Lintott/

Wainui's Shahn Eru celebrates scoring with his teammates. Wellington club rugby Hardham Cup final between Avalon and Wainuiomata at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand on Sunday, 15 August 2010. Photo: Dave Lintott/

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