However, the closeness in the score in Saturday’s game at Auckland University’s club ground represented a much better performance than when they last met in the 2015 final when Auckland won 39-9.
Counties Manukau demonstrated their all-round qualities when beating Waikato in their local derby at Fred Jones Park in Hamilton. Counties Manukau achieved their second win in six games with Waikato while also holding their rivals scoreless in a 29-0 win.
Manawatu were able to record only their second win over Otago in 10 outings while also securing a try-scoring bonus point with Selica Winiata scoring three tries.
North Harbour managed a bonus try 31-11 win over Bay of Plenty.
Auckland 34 (Onjeurlina Leiataua, Charmaine McMenamin, Lydia Crossman 2, Fiao’o Fa’amausili 2 tries; Emma Jensen 2 con)
Wellington Pride 27 (Joanah Ngan-Woo, Fa’asua Makisi, Acacia Te Iwimate tries; Amanda Rasch 3 con, 2 pen)
Manawatu 32 (Selica Winiata 3, Nicci Kuita tries; Krysten Duffill 3 con, 2 pen)
Otago 5 (Nicole Kennedy try)
Counties Manukau 29 (Aroha Savage, Arihiana Marino, Victoria Subristsky-Nafatali, Renee Wickliffe, Langi Veanu tries; Hazel Tubic 2 con). HT 0-12.
Bay of Plenty 11 (Mystery McLean-Kora try; Billie Raynes 2 pen)
North Harbour 31 (Rina Paraone, Florida Fatanitivake, Briar McNamara, Claudia McMeekin, Jemma Palmer tries; Chelsea Alley 3 con).