A thrilling weekend of semifinal action has seen the 2019 Mitre 10 Cup, Mitre 10 Heartland Championship and Farah Palmer Cup finalists confirmed.
Tasman will host their first premiership Final, against Wellington next Saturday.
A hard-fought semifinal victory over Auckland secured a spot in the Final for Tasman, with late tries to Quinten Strange and Alex Nankivell confirming the 18-9 result.
Wellington advance courtesy of a 30-19 semifinal victory over Canterbury in Wellington. Surging out to a 17-0 lead, Wellington had to sustain a second-half Canterbury comeback but 15 points off the boot from Jackson Garden-Bachop was the difference.
It sets up an enticing Final, with Tasman chasing their first premiership title and Wellington after the silverware for the first time since 2000.
The Championship Final will be played in Rotorua with the ultimate Battle of the Bays, Bay of Plenty hosting Hawke’s Bay with the winner gaining promotion into the 2020 Premiership.
In two contrasting semifinals, Bay of Plenty were clinical in their 64-3 win over Manawatu on Friday night. Emoni Nawara crossed for three of his side’s ten tries.
In Napier, it took 100 minutes for Hawke’s Bay to triumph, coming from 7-21 down to beat Otago in extra-time. It was a late try to Mason Emerson that sealed the victory.
In the Mitre 10 Heartland Championship, North Otago will host Wanganui in Oamaru for the Meads Cup.
North Otago had a battle on their hands against Wairarapa Bush in yesterday’s semifinal, with the home team securing a tight 27-25 win. Wanganui upset top-of-the-table Thames Valley 20-15 and will be after their fourth Meads Cup title in five years.
The Lochore Cup will be decided in Greymouth with West Coast aiming for their first provincial title in the Union’s history.
West Coast advanced after a 41-35 semifinal win over Poverty Bay and will host South Canterbury in next week’s Final. South Canterbury were dominant in their 56-24 semifinal win over Buller.
In the Farah Palmer Cup, Canterbury are on track for their third premiership title in as many years, but were pushed in their semifinal victory over Counties Manukau.
The visitors led throughout the match but a late surge of tries nailed the 31-22 win for Canterbury.
They will host Auckland in the premiership Final, who were impressive in their 43-24 semifinal victory over Wellington yesterday.
Otago return to the Farah Palmer Cup championship Final for the third consecutive year, this year hosting Hawke’s Bay for the chance at promotion into the premiership.
A dominant 64-10 semifinal win for Otago over Tasman will see them go into the Final has favourites, hosting Hawke’s Bay who progressed after a 46-31 semifinal victory over Northland.
All Finals will be live on Sky.