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MSP and Ories clinch semi-finals spots on rousing last afternoon of round-robin play

Jubilee Cup Premier

Above: Action from the battle of the Poneke and Upper Hutt Rams Second XVs today, with Poneke winning their Senior 1 Ed Chaney Cup match 36-12 to remain unbeaten in the second round with two rounds to play before the semi-finals.

Marist St Pat’s and Oriental-Rongotai clinched the remaining two Jubilee Cup berths up for grabs today in an exciting final afternoon of round-robin club rugby in Wellington today.

MSP and Ories both put in bombastic displays of thrilling attacking rugby to over-run their last round opposition, MSP racing away early in the second half to take a 27-3 lead, eventually winning 34-20, and Ories’ big-name players again to the fore in their 33-20 win over Petone, after leading 33-6 at one stage.

In the other two Jubilee Cup matches today, Wainuiomata beat already confirmed top qualifier and Andy Leslie Trophy winner Hutt Old Boys Marist 13-12 to nail a historic maiden Jubilee Cup home semi-final at William Jones Park and the Upper Hutt Rams over-ran defending champions Tawa 29-14.

All sporting roads in the Wellington region next Saturday afternoon lead past Westpac Stadium and out to the Hutt Valley, venue of both Jubilee Cup semi-finals. Hutt Old Boys Marist will host fourth placed qualifier Ories and Wainuiomata will entertain third placed qualifier MSP.

In the Hardham Cup, top qualifier Northern United will host fourth placed Avalon at Porirua Park in one semi-final and second placed Poneke and third placed Wellington will meet in town at Kilbirnie Park in the other.

Norths and Poneke each won their sixth matches in the seven-week round-robin series, Norths beating Paremata-Plimmerton 43-14 and Poneke overcoming Avalon 31-13.

Samoan U20 wing Aukuso Tuitama scored two of six tries as Norths beat Paremata-Plimmerton in their first ever clash at this level.

Poneke came back from an 11-13 halftime deficit to defeat Avalon four tries to two. Fullback Jordan Aquila bagged a brace for Avalon.

The Wellington Axemen overcame Johnsonville 24-13 at Helston Park, lock Vaea Fifita scoring two tries for his side.

In the fourth Hardham Cup clash of the afternoon, Old Boys University B won the battle of the B teams, defeating Marist St Pat’s B 20-15. Both sides scored three tries, but it was goal kicking that made the difference.

In final round matches in Colts Division 1 John E Kelly rugby, leaders and overwhelming competition favourites Old Boys University Green survived a scare by strugglers MSP, before winning 23-21.

In the match of consequence for the composition of next week’s semi-finals, Petone Blue edged the Junior Axemen 8-3 in a desperate struggle.

OBU Green will host fourth placed Petone Blue in one Colts semi-final next week.

Last year’s beaten finalists Hutt Old Boys Marist Green defeated Norths Blue 17-6 to finish the round-robin in second and they will host Norths again next week in the other Colts Division 1 semi-final.

In Jubilee Cup last round matches today, there were several permutations four top four places heading into the last round, but OBU and MSP met in what was always effectively a virtual quarter-final.

It was close early on, MSP leading 10-3 late in the first half, before a tenacious period of defence on their own try line in the lead-up to halftime was followed by 15 minutes of champagne rugby early in the second that saw them win the game.

In this period, MSP extended their lead to 27-3, with two scorching tries to fullback Andrew Wells and one to centre Cardiff Vaega who scuttled up the shortside with little room to move and barged over to score. All three ties were the result of the hard work put in by the forwards and positive intent of the inside backs, led by playmaker Fa’atonu Fili.

OBU came back, to trail 20-34 with just a few minutes to go, having scored three tries. The match was lost, but if openside flanker Adam Hill’s late booming break up into the 22 and offload had found his support player OBU would have scored their fourth try under the bar and gained an extra bonus point that would have seen them qualify ahead of Ories on the who-beat-who rule. It didn’t and they were lamenting yet another season of near misses and what ifs.

Ories trucked out their star players, including Ardie Savea who is simply dynamite at this level of rugby. With players such as Savea, Motu Matu’u and Matt Proctor, Ories scored three tries and led Petone 19-6 at halftime. They then went into overdrive and pulled clear to lead 33-6. Petone came back, starting with a long-range try to playmaking second five-eighth Nick Grigg, but it was too late for them and they finished eighth and last.

Wainuiomata went to a match winning 10-0 lead midway through the first half in their final round low scoring affair with HOBM. Tyler Tane kicked an early penalty, before second five-eighth Marvin Karawana scored a 75 metre try. Tane kicked converted Monu’s try and added a penalty to give the green and blacks a 13-0 at halftime.

The Eagles, with Jeremy Thrush in their pack, came back to score through a penalty try, closing the gap up to 7-13, before scoring a try in the corner to  first five-eighth Glen Walters with several minutes remaining. He couldn’t land the conversion to his own try though, and the home side held on to win and to spoil HOBM’s perfect winning record in the Jubilee Cup round-robin series.

The Upper Hutt Rams also played some sizzling rugby to extinguish Tawa’s season in their match at Maidstone Park. Defending the Bill Brien Challenge Cup, the Rams ended their maiden season as the combined Upper Hutt-Rimutaka club in style.

The Rams scored three converted tries and led 21-0 late in the first half. Tawa hit back late in the first spell to make it 21-7 at halftime, and then scored a second to close the score to 21-14. But the Rams kicked a penalty and then scored a try and that was that.

In the fifth round of Victoria Tavern Trophy Women’s matches, there were three comfortable wins and one default, leaving Norths still out in front and confirmed top qualifiers for the semi-finals with a round to play and Ories still in second.

Norths banked maximum points when Avalon’s full roster failed to show and they won by default, while Ories banked maximum points in beating Stokes Valley 117-5.

In the two other Women’s matches today, Old Boys University defeated Tawa 44-0 and Wainuiomata beat Poneke-MSP 56-12.

Poneke continue to lead the Senior 1 Ed Chaney Cup competition with a convincing bonus point 36-12 win over the Upper Hutt Rams, who were third going into today’s clash.

Playing into a strong wind, Poneke scored two tries and led 10-0 throughout much of the first half, before the Rams scored their first try on the back of a disruptive lineout and physical ball runners in close in, and closed the gap to 10-5. But Poneke scored a runaway try on halftime to make it 15-5 at the break.

The run of play remained tight throughout much of the second half, before Poneke eventually broke through with a late flurry of scoring to take a 36-5 lead. The Rams were rewarded with a consolation try at the end.

Petone are second after edging Ories 18-8, ahead of third placed Tawa and defending Ed Chaney Cup champions Tawa who defeated Norths 23-10.

In other Senior 1 matches today, Wests grabbed their second win of the season, beating Wellington 16-11 and HOBM pipped Wainuiomata 12-8 to round off a close afternoon of matches in this grade.

The HD Morgan Memorial Trophy Senior 2 competition sees Hutt Old Boys Marist continuing to set a hot pace, overcoming Johnsonville 29-21 today for their seventh straight win.

Avalon had their bye today but hold second place, ahead of joint third OBU and Petone. OBU beat MSP 28-19 and Petone banked maximum points in beating Northern United by default. Stokes Valley are fifth and still alive to join HOBM, Avalon OBU and Petone in the upcoming semi-finals, after beating Johnsonville 31-8.

The MSP Blues have eased into the lead in the U85kg Division 1 Paul Potiki Shield, beating Waikanae 15-0 today up in the Kapiti Coast.

Eastbourne enjoyed a bonus point 29-22 win over the Onslow OBU Bunnies, Poneke beat the Upper Hutt Rams 17-5, the Tawa Titans had a bye and Avalon were the third team in Wellington club rugby to win by default today, taking the five points against Norths.

| 19 July 2014 | By Steven White

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