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Several unions throughout New Zealand started their Premier competitions on Saturday, including Canterbury and Southland on the mainland and North Harbour and Taranaki in the North Island.
Others, such as Waikato and Manawatu (week 4) are well underway and contenders are already rising to the top. The end result was a day of exciting rugby around the country.
Starting at the bottom, last year’s Galbraith Shield finalists Invercargill Marist were beaten 30-0 by Eastern-Northern Barbarians in their Southland opener. Defending champions Star also lost, going down 21-37 to Pirates Old Boys. Woodlands defeated Blues 22-14 in the other fixture.
The defending champions also lost in Dunedin on Saturday, with University A missing out to Taieri 10-27 in a repeat of last year’s final. Both sides started the match with an attacking mindset yet the score was locked up at 10-10 at halftime. Taieri then steadily built a lead in the second half that University A couldn’t catch. Taieri kept University A scoreless in the second half. Green Island beat Alhambra Union with a tight 29-28 win and Harbour downed Pirates 45-24. Southern had its second win of the season by defeating Zinagri Richmond 50-29 and Kaikorai held off Dunedin 34-32.
In the Canterbury Metro competition, defending champions Lincoln University had little trouble in dispatching Christchurch 44-10 in a replay of last year’s championship final.
Elsewhere on Gala Day, New Brighton defeated Marist Albion 48-17, University beat Shirley 22-11, Linwood pipped Belfast 29-27, Sumner defeated Burnside 26-8 and High school Old Boys held off Sydenham 16-3.
Up the road in Tasman, Marlborough and Nelson each played their own competition matches for the third week. In Marlborough, Central defeated Moutere 37-20 in the battle of the two unbeaten teams, while the new East Coast team had its first win, beating Harlequins 23-22, and Waitohi eased passed Renwick 50-5.
In Nelson, Wanderers are the only unbeaten side so far after their 72-0 win over Waimea OB, whilst Kahurangi knocked over Nelson 28-13 and Stoke and Marist drew 24-24.
Round 2 of the Swindale Shield in Wellington saw defending champions Old Boys-University hold off Marist St Pat’s 23-19 in a repeat of last year’s final, whilst both Poneke and Northern United continued their early season resurgence. Poneke beat Hutt Old Boys Marist 32-23 and Norths edged the Upper Hutt Rams 24-23. That competition continues on Wednesday with the first of two night rounds.
The fourth round of Manawatu club rugby saw Old Boys Marist lose their first fixture of the season, going down 36-43 to Linton Army. The other unbeaten team going into yesterday, College Old Boys, had the bye. Kia Toa joined these two at the top of the standings, beating Freyberg 61-5, whilst Te Kawau defeated Feilding Yellows 19-12 and Varsity beat Feilding Old Boys Oroua 34-6.
Defending champions New Plymouth Old Boys started their 2016 season in Taranaki with a bonus point 34-8 win over Spotswood at Yarrow Stadium, while beaten 2015 finalists Inglewood lost first up at home to Southern, 25-26. Stratford, who merged in the summer with Eltham, upset Coastal away at Rahotu and Clifton accounted for Tukapa 39-10 at Waitara in the day’s other match.
Clive, Napier Old Boys Marist and Napier Pirate are the three unbeaten clubs after two rounds of the 10-teamHawke’s Bay Nash Cup competition. Clive beat Tamatea 26-3, NOBM beat Central 27-19 and Pirate raided Napier Tech’s base 48-6 in the biggest win of the day. MAC defeated Havelock North and Hastings overcame Taradale 32-18 in the other match.
The Hamilton Marist Ravens flew high for the first time this year in Waikato Premier rugby, beating Te Awamutu Sports 36-14, with flyer Latu Vaeno bagging a brace. Otorohanga and Hautapu both continue to set the pace, each easily winning their fourth consecutive matches, over Matamata and Morrinsville respectively. Melville are third with a 27-20 win over University, 2015 NZ Schools wing Sevu Reece scoring two tries.
Competition big guns Tauranga Sports and Mount Maunganui both recorded their second straight bonus point wins to start the season in the Bay of Plenty Baywide competition. Tauranga defeated Aratiki 41-3 and Mount Maunganui beat Rangataua 36-17. Whakatane Marist also won big for the second week in a row, ousting Opotiki 58-10. There were two tight results – Te Puna and Whakarewarewa drawing 10-10 and Te Puke Sports pipping Greerton Marist 39-36.
The Counties Manukau Premier season is also four weeks deep into the season. Patamahoe have won all their games so far and on Saturday the Counties Power Cup holders steamed to a 100-3 win over Drury. Joshua Van Lieshout scored four tries and was one of nine try scorers.
Other matches were much closer, Bombay coming back from a halftime deficit to defeat Pukekohe 25-24, Ardmore Marist beating Onewhero 21-17 and Waiuku beating Te Kauwhata 15-3.
Meanwhile, Maurewa beat Papakura 37-13 an Kalione Hala crossed for a hat-trick in Karaka’s 63-8 win over Weymouth.
The Auckland pre-season Waka Nathan Cup finalists have been found. Waitemata will play Pakuranga in next week’s final. Waitemata beat defending pre-season champions Papatoetoe 35-20 and Pakuranga edged Auckland Marist 12-8 in the other semi-final. Suburbs beat Eden 30-29 and College Rifles beat East Tamaki in the two Pollard Cup semi-finals.
North Harbour Premier club rugby kicked off on Saturday, with 2015 winners Massey taking a 30-24 2win over Glenfield and last year’s beaten finalists North Shore beating Mahurangi 49-13. Takapuna pipped Northcote 30-29 at Onewa Domain in the closest result of the day, while Silverdale eased past Marist 41-17 in a battle of last year’s strugglers and East Coast Bays beat the Western Pioneers 47-15.
Round three of the Northland Southern Districts Premiers was on Saturday. Results to be confirmed.
National club rugby results: April 2, 2016
Mid Northern 46 Hikurangi 17
Mid-Western 32 Hora Hora 22
Old Boys-Marist 43 Wellsford 7
Otamatea 40 Waipu 26
Western Sharks 23 Kamo 17
(Bay of Islands)
Kerikeri 32 Ohaeawai 12
Kaikohe 49 Okaihau 0
Kaeo 36 Otiria 7
Moerewa 35 United Kawakawa 10
(Buck Shelford Shield)
Silverdale 41 Marist 17
Massey 30 Glenfield 24
Takapuna 30 Northcote 29
North Shore 49 Mahurangi 13
East Coast Bays 47 Western Pioneers 15
(Waka Nathan Challenge Cup)
Waitemata 35 Papatoetoe 20
Pakuranga 12 Marist 8
Suburbs 30 Eden 29
College Rifles 52 East Tamaki 10
Ardmore-Marist 21 Onewhero 17
Patumahoe 100 Drury 3
Waiuku 15 Te Kauwhata 3
Bombay 25 Pukekohe 24
Manurewa 37 Papakura 13
Karaka 63 Weymouth 8
Tairua 44 Thames 0
Waihou 13 Waihi Athletic 10
Mercury Bay 36 Paeroa West 16
Hauraki North 25 Te Aroha COBRAS 22
Bay of Plenty
Tauranga Sports 41 Arataki 3
Te Puna 10 Whakarewarewa 10
Mount Maunganui Sports 36 Rangataua 17
Whakatane Marist 58 Opotiki 10
Rotoiti 27 Paroa 10
Te Puke Sports 39 Greerton Marist 36
Fraser Tech 40 Hamilton Old Boys 24
Otorohanga 59 United Matamata Sports 5
Hamilton Marist 36 Te Awamutu Sports 14
Melville 27 University 20
Hautapu 40 Morrinsville Sports 0
Waitete 22 Waitomo 14
Taupo Sports 126 Bush United 0
Pio Pio 43 Taumarunui Districts 0
Kio Kio United 32 Tongariro 24
Taupo United 15 Taumarunui Rugby and Sport 8
TVC 34 Hicks Bay 7
Tokomaru Bay United 43 Tawhiti 3
Ruatoria City 28 Tokararangi 14
Hikurangi 11 Waiapu 10
OBM 6 YMP 6
HSOB 30 Waikohu 22
Pirates 16 Ngatapa 14
(Tui Nash Cup)
Napier Old Boys-Marist 27 Central 19
Clive 26 Tamatea 3
Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports 48 Napier Technical 6
Hastings Rugby and Sports 32 Taradale 18
MAC 26 Havelock North 11
Clifton 39 Tukapa 10
Stratford 33 Coastal 27
New Plymouth Old Boys 34 Spotswood 8
Southern 26 Inglewood 25
Marist 34 Pirates 0
Taihape 40 Kaierau 28
Border 47 Ruapehu 17
Utiku OB 36 Ratana 12
Varsity 34 Feilding Old Boys 6
Linton Lions 43 Old Boys-Marist 36
Kia Toa 61 Freyberg 5
Te Kawau 19 Feilding 12
College Old Boys 34 Linton 12
Kia Toa 30 Feilding Old Boys-Oroua 15
Old Boys-Marist 22 Te Kawau 17
Feilding 31 Freyberg 27
(Moose Kapene Cup)
Martinborough 20 Marist 19
Carterton 48 East Coast 19
Eketahuna 13 Pioneer 12
Greytown 29 Gladstone 21
Foxton 22 Shannon 6
Levin College Old Boys 20 Toa 14
Levin Wanderers 24 Athletic 18
Waikanae 28 Paraparaumu 20
Old Boys-University 23 Marist-St Pat’s 19
Oriental-Rongotai 86 Johnsonville 3
Wainuiomata 27 Paremata-Plimmerton 3
Poneke 32 Hutt Old Boys-Marist 23
Avalon Wolves 32 Wellington 29
Northern United 24 Upper Hutt Rams 23
Tawa 18 Petone 15
(Tasman Trophy division one)
Kahurangi 28 Nelson 13
Wanderers 72 Waimea Old Boys 0
Marist 24 Stoke 24
Harlequins 22 East Coast 23
Waitohi 50 Renwick 5
Central 37 Moutere 20
South Westland 42 Grey Valley 7
Wests 16 Marist 5
Lincoln University 44 Christchurch 10
New Brighton 48 Marist Albion 17
University 22 Shirley 11
Linwood 29 Belfast 27
Sumner 26 Burnside 8
HSOB 16 Sydenham 3
Mid Canterbury/(Canterbury Country)
Rolleston 25 Methven 17
Lincoln 24 Saracens 16
Southbridge 35 West Melton 0
Glenmark 57 Hampstead 7
Burnham/Dunsandel/Irwin 62 Kaiapoi 5
Oxford 27 Prebbleton 17
Waihora 11 Darfield 6
Ohoka 46 Hornby 35
Ashley 36 Southern 30
Rakaia 19 Celtic 13
Harlequins 16 MacKenzie 14
Waimate 42 Old Boys 22
Temuka 50 Geraldine 11
Celtic 33 Pleasant Point 13
Old Boys 71 Valley 5
Athletic Marist 57 Excelsior 6
Maheno 20 Kurow 20
Cromwell 33 Arrowtown 25
Maniototo 13 Roxburgh 11
Matakanui Combined 40 Alexandra 10
Wakatipu 22 Upper Clutha 12
Green Island 29 Alhambra-Union 28
Kaikorai 34 Dunedin 32
Southern 50 Zingari-Richmond 29
Harbour 45 Pirates 24
Taieri 27 University A 10
Toko 24 Crescent 19
Clutha 55 Clinton 15
Clutha Valley 51 Owaka 12
Lawrence 38 Heriot 18
Woodlands 32 Blues 14
Eastern-Northern Barbarians 30 Marist 0
Pirates Old Boys 37 Star 21
*Buller kicks off their premier club season on April 9.