The Premier club rugby season might be over but there are still two final weeks left to go and a handful of trophies to be given out at club level, and college finals happening as well.
After sitting idle last weekend, it’s the semi-finals in the Johnsonville Centennuim Cup, with both matches in the Hutt Valley. First-round winners the HOBM Barbarians again put their season-long unbeaten streak on the line and up against a familiar foe in the OBU Wolfpack. The pair have met in the playoffs the past two years, with OBU winning the 2016 final by 20-8 and HOBM the clash at this same stage last year by 17-10, and have cruised to 57-17 and 47-17 wins in their meetings this season.
The other semi-final is over at Delaney Park where the home Stokes Valley Chiefs will face defending grade champions the Petone Brotherhood. Their two meetings have been something of a contrast with a 29-all draw in their first-round meeting and the Chiefs taking a comfortable 53-10 result four weeks ago.
Both semi-finals are 2.30pm kick-offs.
Under 85kg Restricted
It’s also semi-finals time for the lightweights, and as with the First Grade both Division 1 Paul Potiki Shield semi-finals are in the Hutt. Like the HOBM Barbarians the Avalon Wolves are also unbeaten all season and take on perennial challengers Tawa – who they’ve beaten 37-5 and 21-9 in their meetings this season – on the grass at Fraser Park in one semi-final. The other is up the road at Maidstone Park with the Upper Hutt Rams facing Eastbourne with the ledger between the two one-all on the year; Eastbourne won their first clash 27-11 and the Rams the return by 13-5.
In contrast, the two Division 2 Tony O’Brien Shield matches are both in the city. Top qualifiers Johnsonville line up against the Wests Roosters at Helston, and last year’s grade champions Wellington are at Hataitai against eastern suburbs rivals Marist St Pat’s.
All four matches also kick-off at 2.30pm.
The local part of the college season is rapidly coming to an end as well with some grades already having played semi-finals, and others doing so tomorrow. At the sharp end the last four in the Premiership take to the field looking to book their place in next Sunday’s televised decider at Porirua Park. St Pat’s Silverstream wrapped up their round-robin by easing past Kapiti College and will host fourth-seed Wellington College in one semi-final, and having already beating them 46-0 in their Traditional clash earlier in the campaign. The other semi-final is in Strathmore with Scots College against St Pat’s Town and although Scots won their round-robin match 36-15 they were surprisingly beaten by Wairarapa last weekend, while Town crushed cellar-dwellers Porirua.
Wairarapa College was hosting St Bernard’s College this afternoon at 3.30pm in a fifth v sixth playoff, while Rongotai College and Kapiti College meet tomorrow afternoon at Rongotai in the seventh v eight fixture.
In Premier 2, last weekend’s results tossed the playoff picture upside down. Tawa’s win over Aotea combined with the Silverstream 2nds loss to lowly Taita elevated Tawa to top spot and they’ll host the Streamers in one semi-final, while Aotea – who have lost their last three games in this competition – head to Lower Hutt to take on Hutt Valley HS who wound up a second-qualifiers in part to amassing 11 bonus points.
All four of these matches get underway at 2.30pm.