Hutt Old Boys Marist fullback Sapati Tagoai on his way to scoring the first of his four tries this afternoon in his team’s 59-24 win over Marist St Pat’s. His sister, Monica, also scored two tries at the same venue earlier in the day, in the MSP Women’s 75-14 win over Paremata-Plimmerton.
- By Steven White and Scott MacLean
Results & Scoring (as and when received) HERE
The Paremata-Plimmerton Hammerheads and the Upper Hutt Rams both won one-point thrillers in today’s sun-drenched seventh round set of Swindale Shield matches.
Paremata-Plimmerton held on to beat the Johnsonville Hawks 21-20 in fading light at Helston Park and the Upper Hutt Rams beat Petone 40-39 at Maidstone Park.
Both outcomes were decided by penalties at the end. For Paremata-Plimmerton, they survived a last-ditch penalty miss, 15m in from halfway and 15m in from touch, by Johnsonville halfback Mark Sutton. For the Rams, sharpshooting first five Tynan Barrett kicked the winning penalty in the 80th minute.
In a see-saw match for both the Ted Connolly Cup and Bill Brien Challenge Shield, Petone had their noses in front with several minutes to play through a late penalty and try. The Rams, who had led 26-12 at halftime, got back in front when it mattered most. For the Rams, halfback Kaide McCashin scored two tries and Barrett kicked six penalties.
The match at Johnsonville didn’t start until 3.30pm, owing to a broken leg to a player in the curtain-raiser that was called off at halftime because of the injury and a long delay in getting emergency services to the venue to attend to the player.
Once underway, the Hammerheads went out to a 13-9 lead late in the first half with all the points scored by second five Dale Sabbagh, before Johnsonville scored just before the break when centre Aukuso Tuitama picked up a dropped ball and ran away for the try in the corner to make it 14-13 at halftime.
The Hawks lost a player to the sin-bin early in the second spell, but halfback Sutton kicked a penalty to see his side up 17-13. Hammerheads centre Ethan Webster-Nonu made a break and set up a try to right wing Blake Neve and they were now up 18-17.
Both sides would kick further penalties in a tense second half encounter, before Sutton’s miss at the end.
There were five Premier matches played in the city this afternoon, with the Hutt Old Boys Marist Eagles emerging as surprising one-sided 59-24 winners over home team Marist St Pat’s at Evans Bay Park for the Father Cleary Shield. This included four tries to fullback Sapati Tagoai. More on this match below.
Across the road at Kilbirnie Park, the run of play was much closer as home team Poneke edged past the Avalon Wolves 32-24.
Avalon made much of the early run of play and they were ahead 14-8 at halftime. Poneke struck back with a crucial try just after the interval to go up 15-14, and they remained ahead narrowly right up to the end when a late try won them the game and also denied the Wolves a deserved losing bonus point.
Through the cutting at the Wall, visitors Tawa beat Oriental-Rongotai 17-7 in a more sedate match as far as scoring went. Tawa scored one converted try and led 7-0 at halftime, before scoring again to double it and then sealing it with a penalty.
At Hataitai Park, Northern United climbed into their work with two early converted tries to lead the Wellington Axemen 14-3. From there they steadily built their lead and went on to win 61-3 in a morale-boosting win for the mis-firing Norths in the competition thus far.
For Norths, fullback Jaxon Poutama scored four tries.
Across at Rugby League Park, visitors Wainuiomata opened the scoring to lead home team Old Boys University 7-0. OBU would respond with two tries and Wainuiomata one more for OBU to get their noses in front, before one more to OBU gave them a 19-12 halftime lead. The second half belonged to OBU as they went on to win the match 59-17 by a margin of nine tries to three and retain the Peter Dunford Cup.
For OBU, halfback Kyle Preston scored four tries.
In a surprising one-sided romp, HOBM won nine tries to four in their 59-24 win over MSP, after leading 45-12 at half time.
Following HOBM’s opening try to openside flanker Willie Rua after 15 minutes, the floodgates opened, and HOBM ran in another five tries. Three of these were converted from out wide by second five Brandyn Laursen, which gave them a match-winning 38-0 advantage once the waters parted less than 20 minutes later.
The Eagles flew in for their second try from a kick and a kind bounce that was collected by the chasers and left wing Kobe Joe-Vulu scored under the posts, before fullback Sapati Tagoai scored the first of his four tries following a completely dominant Eagles forwards drive from a lineout to make it 21-0.
Two minutes later, Tagoai was in again in the same corner for the bonus point try.
Hooker Freddie Sunia crossed in the opposite corner, followed by centre Nash Fiso-Vaelei collecting the kick-off and running through some feeble tackling and running all the way to the tryline to score. At that point, MSP were seemingly in tatters.
However, the home team finally got their hands on the ball at the right end of the field and their most abrasive attacker on the day, second five Isaia Petelo, ran up the blindside from a ruck to put MSP on the board. Starting fullback Jack O’Brien kicked the conversion.
The Eagles went straight back on to attack, using their dominant rolling maul to set up another try for the Eagles backs. Laursen kicked another sideline conversion to put them up 45-7.
Just before halftime, MSP replied with their second try, with Petelo making a short burst and passing to hooker Charlie Hankins to end the rather eventful first 40 minutes.
MSP started the second half the way they finished the first, but their good work was undone in a heartbeat when play broke down and HOBM fullback Tagoai ran 70 metres for his hat-trick. Once more, MSP replied, from a scrum, when centre Ben Tuiatua crossed for MSP’s third try.
But the Eagles soon sealed the game with that man Tagoai intercepting a pass and sprinting away to score in front of the MSP changing rooms to make it 59-17.
There was still plenty of time left as both sides emptied their benches and play finally settled down.
Petelo scored the last try of the match, which was also his second and MSP’s bonus point try. This was duly converted by halfback-turned-first five Logan Love who, as well as Petelo, were MSP’s best on the day.
MSP were grateful for the fulltime whistle and they will be licking their wounds after a disappointing display. As it has been all season to date, their lineout was misfiring, while their forwards handling was sloppy and their close-quarter defence of their Eagles opposites was lacking.
MSP had also lost their starting blindside flanker Saipele Tito, who was on debut, through injury midway through the first half.
That said, the Eagles, who themselves made a lacklustre start to this season, were on fire themselves, and everything went right for them in a magical period in the first half.
Premier 2 Harper Lock Shield
Undefeated Tawa were held to a 29-29 draw by Oriental-Rongotai in today’s seventh round set of matches. Tawa still lead the standings by one point, as second placed Hutt Old Boys Marist suffered their first defeat of the competition in missing out to Marist St Pat’s 29-36.
Poneke and Petone are both just two points back in joint third, after Poneke crushed Avalon 84-5 and Petone took down the Rams 34-26 in a close game that mirrored the Premier match that followed.
In other Premier 2 results today, Old Boys University edged Wainuiomata 25-22, Stokes Valley beat Northern United 46-27 and Paremata-Plimmerton were declared 24-6 winners over Johnsonville in the match that was called off early because of the injury at Helston Park.
Valley duo Petone and HOBM are the unbeaten sides after four rounds of the Colts Paris Memorial Trophy with plenty of points scored.
Both played last night, with Petone getting past previously unbeaten Tawa 43-33, and HOBM accounting for Wainuiomata 49-0. OBU were the third winner under lights, getting past Ories 40-34.
In today’s matches the Upper Hutt Rams blitzed Poneke 86-10, while Norths pulled off a minor upset in tipping over MSP 34-31. Both these matches were adjucant to each other at Kilbirnie Park.
The Rams were dominant over Poneke, as the score suggests. They ran in three converted tries in the first 15 minutes to lead 21-0. The bonus point was raised after 20 minutes and they went on lead 41-0 at halftime. Their set-piece was particularly strong. Poneke also lost two players through injuries. The Rams ran in three more consecutive tries after halftime, before Poneke broke the sequence with a try. They scored another batch of tries and then Poneke scored their second.
The Norths-MSP fixture was close throughout the second half, after Norths had reined in a halftime lead. It was 31-31 when MSP’s left wing scored up the far touchline, before a steady period of phase play by Norths and a yellow card to a MSP defender saw Norths step and kick the winning penalty with a few minutes to play.
The Women’s Rebecca Liua’ana Trophy will go down to a three-way tussle next week after results went as predicted today.
Norths kept their three-point lead after beating Poneke 58-12, while chasers Petone and MSP kept station; Petone beat neighbours HOBM/Wainui 39-10 after leading 10-5 at halftime, while MSP racked up the points again in beating Pare-Plim 75-14. The fourth match saw Ories beat Avalon 46-15.
The MSP win was their second straight big win, and was the result of a entertaining style they are employing. MSP played with freedom and continuity to rack up a 40-0 lead by halftime. Then tries to former Black Ferns Marcelle Parkes and Monica Tagoai early in the second half put them up 52-0. Paremata-Plimmerton came back into the game and were rewarded with two converted tries, but MSP pulled clear again through to the end.
The U85kg JC Bowl resumed today after a weekend off last Saturday for National Knockout Cup matches.
The OBU Scallywags went on a tear against Stokes Valley, winning 47-3 and maintaining their perfect unbeaten start to the competition after five rounds.
Poneke, Tawa and Stokes Valley are all bunched tightly below OBU with four wins from five – although Poneke also lost their first game today in going down 12-17 to Paremata-Plimmerton. Tawa overcame Eastbourne 73-3.
In three well-contested matches, Petone beat the Johnsonville Terrahawks 27-19, MSP edged the Wests Roosters 19-14 and the HOBM Howlers beat Wellington 29-15.
In today’s third round of grading matches ahead of the start of the competition season next weekend, Wairarapa College beat Naenae College 93-0, Mana College defeated Newlands College 38-0, St Bernard’s beat Paraparaumu College 34-17 and Tawa College overcame Porirua College 34-17.
Thus Wairarapa College, St Bernard’s College, Mana College and Tawa College bagged the final four places up for grabs in the Wellington Premiership. The draw will be out early next week.
In other First XV games today, Hastings Boys’ High School were too strong for Rongotai, winning 65-10 and St Pat’s Silverstream took down visitors Palmerston North Boys’ High School 32-30.