In the lead-up to the 2023 season, Club Rugby is running a series on social media called Feverish Finishes.
A look at some of the many crazy finishes and roaring comebacks in Wellington club rugby in recent years – of which there have been many.
These will also be posted here in a 3-4 part series – plus a handful of other ones not going up on social media re-posted an article posted on our ‘old’ website several years ago called Sizzling Comebacks.
MSP edge HOBM in 2017 Jubilee Cup classic
Petone and Ories all square in club rugby classic
St Pat’s Town roar back to beat Wellington College in 2018 traditional
In the then 134 years of rivalry between St Pat’s Town and Wellington College in May 2018 it’s unlikely the capital’s oldest schoolboy rugby fixture as ever produced the drama that unfolded here between the two sides at Wellington College.
Down 19-0, and reduced to 14 players after 20 minutes, Town remarkably rallied to win 31-26.
The winning try was scored with about three minutes remaining when reserve forward Liam McAree busted through the hosts defence at halfway and strode away like an antelope to propel the visitors into their only lead of the match.
Crazy scenes at the Hutt Rec in 2013 semi-final
The 97-minute semi-final in 2013.
Ories first-five Fa’atonu Fili won the game for his side in the 17th minute of extra time, after scores had been locked up at 20-20 at fulltime and then 27-27 after 97 minutes.
Ories had given themselves every chance to win when flanker Tutasi Masoe crashed over in the corner with the last play of the game and Fili missed a difficult conversion that would have ended it then.
Only a few minutes before HOBM themselves had thought they had the game won when their right wing James Kusel had fielded a Fili kick on the fly near halfway and steamed up the right hand touchline to set up a converted try to put them ahead 20-15.
Previously, Ories wing Afa Fa’atau crashed up field and set up a try in reply and scores were locked up at 10-10 at halftime. HOBM spent the first 10 minutes of the second half camped inside Ories’ 22 and were twice held up over the line. Eventually they were awarded a penalty and flyhalf Brandyn Laursen took the points to put HOBM ahead 13-10. The match unravelled, with Ories scoring an unconverted try in the corner to All Black Julian Savea to take a 15-13 lead, and both sides scoring twice more to make it 20-20 after 80 minutes.
Norths over-take Tawa at end of 2019 Lyndhurst semi-final
Northern United halfback Campbell Woodmass finished off a counterattack and sweeping raid up the terrace touchline to score in the corner of Lyndhurst Park to put Northern United up 18-17 with a couple of minutes to play against Tawa.
The drama wasn’t over though, as replacement Tawa flyhalf Sam Clarke lined up a 79th minute long-range penalty to re-take the lead and win the game. His kick was on target but didn’t have the legs and from there Norths scrambled to clinch victory.
Tawa had stormed to a 17-0 lead. Tries to flanker Hemi Fermanis and prop and skipper James Coburn, both from lineouts, had them on top. Norths replied with a try to left wing Junior Time-Taotua from a chargedown in general play and it was 17-5 at halftime. Norths worked themselves into the game after halftime and scored through right wing Connor Garden-Bachop up the clubrooms sideline. Another raid yielded a penalty to close the gap to 13-17, before Woodmass’s late heroics that sent his side on to Jubilee Cup glory the following week, beating Wainuiomata 25-16.
Trei Mu scores from the final kick-off
Trei Mu sent heads spinning at William Jones Park with a freakish try to give Wainuiomata an epic 28-23 victory over Petone.
With two minutes remaining and having led for the best part of an hour, Wainuiomata conceded a converted try to apparently surrender a deserved win. What happened next was genuinely extraordinary.
“Ruben’s (Love) plan was to kick short and contest for it. We were ready for that. We get to the line and he hides his face and he calls long,” Mu reflected.
“I just went sweet, I’ll push up and put some pressure on. The ball went into the in-goal area and they let it bounce, they let it bounce. I was like sweet I’ll put more pressure on, more pressure on. It just kept on bouncing. The closer I got the harder my heart was racing. Carne, their number ten, didn’t know I was coming. When he looked up and I was already on the ball, it was the best feeling in the world.”
“Peter (Umaga-Jensen) was the first there when I stood up. I out-paced a Hurricane,” Mu laughed.
4 May 2013: Just in Time as Wainuiomata edge MSP at the death
Wainuiomata beat Marist St Pat’s 31-24 on MSP’s Old Timers’ Day at Evans Bay Park; centre Teru Time breaking a 24-24 deadlock and scoring the match winner for the green and blacks right at the end. Both teams looked evenly matched throughout the first half. MSP managed two tries before half-time, but Wainuiomata first-five John Monu put the team a point ahead with two penalties before the break. MSP started the second half strongly with two more tries to give them a bonus point and put them eight points ahead at one stage. However, Wainuiomata responded with a try and a penalty to even the score at 24-24. With 15 minutes still to play it was anybody’s game, but both defences held firm. But with a minute left, ?Time broke through to score the match winner and Monu added the icing on the cake to a Player of the Match performance by slotting the conversion for good measure