Northern United (Jubilee Cup) and Wainuiomata (Hardham Cup) lead Wellington club rugby’s two Premier competitions with two rounds to play before the semi-finals.
First-round winners Northern United leapt to their fourth straight bonus point Jubilee Cup victory with their 22-5 win over Tawa at Lyndhurst Park. Northern United hold a three-point lead to second-placed Hutt Old Boys Marist who have their bye next week, after the Eagles beat Marist St Pat’s 24-7. Old Boys University are third, despite losing 14-18 to Poneke. Oriental-Rongotai had their bye.
Wainuiomata hold a two-point lead to the rest of the Hardham Cup field, despite having their bye on Saturday. Petone and Johnsonville are second equal, with Petone beating Paremata-Plimmerton 22-5 and previously unbeaten Johnsonville losing to Wellington 5-15. The Upper Hutt Rams hold the fourth spot after a late 15-13 win over the Avalon Wolves in the third Hardham Cup fixture on Saturday.
The Jubilee Cup points after 5 rounds of 7 is: Northern United 20; HOBM 17*; OBU 15; Ories 13; Poneke 11; MSP 4*; Tawa 4
*yet to have their bye.
The Hardham Cup points table after 5 rounds of 7 is: Wainuiomata 17; Petone 15; Johnsonville 15; Upper Hutt Rams 13; Wellington 11*; Paremata-Plimmerton 3; Avalon 3*.
*Yet to have their bye.
The weather was the dominant feature of the fifth round set of matches, high winds, followed by showers and then general rain around the region affecting all matches. For the most part, the forecasted rain hit right on cue in the middle of the afternoon as Premier Reserve games were still in play and Premier ones about to start.
The weather bomb played a large part in proceedings at Kilbirnie Park where home side Poneke scored a late try to come from behind and beat Old Boys University 18-14 in the closest of the three Jubilee Cup clashes.
Playing into the wind in the second half, Poneke scored the game’s final two tries to go from 8-14 down to beat the Goats. Replacement lock Jonte Miller scored the first of these, before a break upfield by left wing Nick Robertson was carried on by prop Hennie Tui who came up just short of the chalk. Poneke spun it at the next phase to replacement wing Johannus Taankink and he scored the match-winner with a couple of minutes to play.
Earlier, OBU had dominated first-half possession playing into the wind, but Poneke’s Pakai Turia kicked a sole penalty to see them lead 3-0 at halftime. With prop Finnbarr Kerr-Newell in the sin-bin, OBU midfielder Izzy Foai barged over to score. But Poneke replied through flanker Api McMillan-Parata as they went to work Poneke-style playing into the wind. OBU scored again, through lock Agustin Escalona, but Poneke hit back with their two tries to win the game.
At Lyndhurst Park, Norths first five-eighth Jackson Garden-Bachop played a leading role in his side’s win over Tawa. Norths led 5-0 playing into the elements in the first half, before pulling clear with two quickfire tries after the break for another bonus point win. For Tawa, the loss leaves them with a mathematical chance only to make the semi-finals.
At the Hutt Rec, home side HOBM played with the wind and rain at their back and scored four first half tries to lead 24-0 at halftime against MSP. The visitors fought hard in the first 40 minutes and retained possession for long periods, but they simply could not get out of their territory. HOBM’s first try was scored by right-wing Jerome Harimate after a tap penalty but the other three followed turnovers and MSP errors. The HOBM forwards went to work after halftime and the only points of the second half came from a MSP 65th minute try.
At Fraser Park, the Upper Hutt Rams beat the Avalon Wolves with a late penalty. Second five-eighth Tyler Tane stepped up to take the penalty giving the Rams a 15-13 win. The penalty came just after Wolves first five-eighth Thomas Kiwara had landed a shot that had put them in front 13-12. There was little in the match throughout, with scores locked at 5-5 late in the first half and then Avalon wing Chris Aumua finishing off an 80-metre try that put the Wolves up10-5 at halftime. The Rams replied with their second try before the late penalties decided the result.
The other two Hardham Cup matches saw Petone keep their noses in front of Paremata-Plimmerton all day to win 22-5 at the Petone Recreation Ground and the Wellington Axemen defeat Johnsonville 15-5 at Hataitai Park. Wainuiomata had the bye – and stays on the top of the table. For Petone, prop Kaliopasi Uluilakepa scored two tries, while Hurricanes locks Murray Douglas and James Blackwell were also prominent.
In the Women’s competition, leaders Northern United took their third straight win to start their Division 1 second round campaign, beating against Paremata-Plimmerton 48-5 at Ngatitoa Domain. With the aid of the strong wind, Norths scored three first-half tries and led 19-5 at halftime. Norths scored a runaway try early in the second half that propelled them to their win. Centre Dhys Faleafaga and right-wing Eden Gibson scored two tries each.
The second Division 1 match of the round was played midweek, with Petone defeating Marist St Pat’s 63-0. Second five-eighth Sieni Mose scored four tries and kicked four conversions for 28 points. Ories had the bye.
In Division 2, the OBU Impalas and HOBM both had good wins. OBU defeated Avalon 46-15 with second five-eighth Larissa Lima scoring a hat-trick and HOBM beat Poneke 43-12 2 with utility Rosie Stirling and left wing Danica Tavite both crossing for braces in a seven tries to two win. HOBM lead Division 2 with three bonus-point wins.
For the most part, the Premier Reserve fixtures that kicked off at 1.00pm got kinder weather than the Premier contests that followed. First-round winners Marist St Pat’s had first use of the wind against HOBM and leapt to a 19-0 lead that became 26-0 by halftime in their Ed Chaney Cup game. MSP pulled clear into the wind and won 48-0.
Poneke beat OBU 17-15 after leading 12-10 at halftime playing into the wind. Poneke’s tighthead prop dived over to score first in the second half, extending their lead to 17-10. OBU eventually scored again, but not until the 81st minute.
Tawa made a fast start against Norths in their Premier Reserve fixture, leaping to a 10-0 lead. Norths came back to lead 19-13 by halftime, and that score remained until late in the match when Tawa scored a converted try to win 20-19.
In the Premier Reserve HD Morgan Cup, the Wellington Axemen’s second XV defeated Johnsonville 29-12, while Petone beat Paremata-Plimmerton 61-5 and Avalon met the Upper Hutt Rams.
In Les Mills Colts matches, the HOBM Colts accounted for previously unbeaten Northern United 31-0 on the Hutt Rec 2, to move into second on the standings behind Norths.
OBU and MSP put last weekend’s fighting and subsequent dockage of 2 points each behind them to win their John E Kelly Memorial Cup matches. OBU trounced Tawa 57-5 and MSP beat the Upper Hutt Junior Rams 21-10. Paremata-Plimmerton defeated Petone 22-12 in the other match.
In Division 2 Colts matches, Poneke beat OBU Black 26-0 and Ories beat Avalon 64-8 in two Friday night fixtures, while Wellington beat Johnsonville 36-10 today.
In a noted U85kg Division 1 Paul Potiki Shield opening round result today, first round winners from last week the Avalon Wolves beat Eastbourne 10-5.
In a Reserve Grade Division 1 result, the Upper Hutt Thirsty Rams beat the Johnsonville Cripples 12-10 to take their second consecutive win of the second round.