Locks played leading hands in two of the fourth round Jubilee Cup matches that were played in welcome bright sunshine around Wellington on Saturday. Northern United lock Telea Seumanutafa scored a remarkable four tries in his side's important 31-18 win over Hutt Old Boys Marist and Marist St. Pat's leaper Lua Lokatui scored the match winner in his side's 20-13 win over Tawa.
Seumanutafa scored two tries in each half - including the first two of the match and a later one roaming out wide, chipping and chasing and regathering - before being substituted for a job well done.
Seumanutafa's fourth try pushed the home side out to a 26-11 lead, before HOBM came back to score through replacement prop Lake Manaia to close the gap. But almost from the next kick-off, Norths No. 8 Anthony Masina charged down a HOBM kick and ran in to score Norths' fifth try which won the game for Norths and almost certainly shut the first round Swindale Shield champions out of the Jubilee Cup playoff race with three rounds to play.
At Evans Bay Park, Lokatui dived through to score his side's match winner with time almost up on the clock and first five-eighth Fa'atonu Fili converted to take a 20-13 win.
In an arm-wrestle, Tawa had fought back earlier in the second half to level the scores at 13-13 through their only try of the match to centre Junior Togia after a quick tap and dash from a free kick by halfback Steven So'oialo.
As part of a tense match throughout, Tawa had the chance to take the lead with about 10 minutes to play but a long-range penalty missed its mark. Instead MSP kept fighting and came up with their third win from four Jubilee Cup matches with Tongan international Lokatui's try after scores had been locked at 3-3 at halftime and locked up at 6-6 early in the second spell.
The two Jubilee Cup matches in the Hutt Valley delivered contrasting results, with home team Wainuiomata edging Upper Hutt 13-10 and Oriental-Rongotai running through Petone 55-15 at the Petone Recreation Ground.
Left wing Jason Love's two tries for Wainuiomata were the difference in a close contest on the heavy William Jones Park, while Ories made Petone pay for turnovers and far too many missed tackles.
Upper Hutt, who lost returning lock Ray Sio early through injury, were outgunned by the physical Wainuiomata pack after scoring first and taking a 7-0 lead through a chargedown try to openside flanker Justin Mcilwee.
Flyer Love flashed in for his first try to close the gap to 7-5, before he completed his brace with the only try of the second half to put them ahead 10-7.
Upper Hutt fullback Jason Woodward evened the ledger with a penalty but that was as close as they got and the home team kicked a penalty through first five-eighth John Monu to clinch their win.
Ories beat Petone eight tries to two in their big win, New Zealand U20 right wing Matt Proctor scoring a double and zippy halfback Sean Hay scoring a try, kicking six conversions and a penalty for 20 points.
Ories blasted Petone early, scoring at a point a minute on their way to a 31-8 lead after half an hour and eventually taking a comfortable lead the halftime turnaround.
The visitors were quick out of the blocks, Proctor and Whelan running in early tries. A bad start was made worse for Petone when lock Chris Molenaar was sinbinned immediately after Whelan's try. A penalty into the corner for a lineout resulted in a try to skipper Donal McNamara, before Petone hit back with their first try to electric wing Nick Grigg after a period of pressure inside the Ories' 22. But with barely half an hour of the clock, the ball squirted free from the back of a Petone scrum, Hay collected the spoils, shot up field and scored their bonus point try.
With the game gone, Petone dug deep and competed throughout long periods of the second half, but Ories completed their win with two wonderful long-range tries in the dying minutes.
Hay, try scorer and blindside Pau Halafihi and lock Dan Reddish handled in their fifth try, that extended the lead to 38-8, while a turnover set No. 8 Joe Maiava loose in midfield, who found replacement wing Ambrose Curtis in space who handed to try scorer Proctor making it 45-8.
Petone scored their second try to fullback Tomasio Alosio off a grubber kick into the in-goal by halfback Jared Kahu, but Ories replied with tries to Dan Reddish after a run by Proctor and Curtis, regathering his own chip and chase and outsprinting the cover defence.
As well as dangerous attack, Ories' defence was impressive. Like the recent great Norths teams, much of the fireworks they created was the direct result of constant defensive pressure.
Their midfield of Ahtun Masun and Paulo Aukuso was solid, while their loose forward trio Halafihi, Ardie Savea and Maiava was dynamic against an understrength Petone badly missing Maleaki Kafatolu who has left for a rugby contract in Romania. The Reddish brothers at lock, Mark and Dan, were into everything.
In the Hardham Cup, joint leaders Old Boys University and Poneke both galloped to their fourth straight bonus point wins to seal their semi-final spots with three rounds to play.
Old Boys University inflicted a fourth straight loss on Norths B at Porirua Park in winning 34-10, while Poneke tore through fellow Premier club the Wests Roosters 45-0.
For OBU, wing Te Wehi Wright scored four tries.
For Poneke, openside flanker and former Wests player Galu Taufale scored a hat trick, while Hurricanes prop Reggie Goodes scored two tries and Michael Sage one. Hurricanes midfielder Charlie Ngatai kicked five conversions and a penalty.
Poneke were fast out of the blocks, leaping to 19-0 lead midway through the first half, before a Wests comeback kept them in check. However Poneke extended their lead to 29-0 early in the second half and from there pulled clear. They have now scored 186 points and conceded just five (one try) in four Hardham Cup matches thus far.
At Evans Bay Park, MSP B climbed into the top four with a 20-6 win over injury hit Johnsonville. Wing Johnny Gbenda Charles scored two tries and halfback Nick Wanden one in the three tries to nil victory.
At Mary Crowther Park, there was heartbreak for Rimutaka fans who conceded a try at the very end to Wainuiomata B to go down 22-26.
In a see-saw match, Rimutaka first five-eighth Ray MacDonald had just kicked a penalty to break a previous 19-19 deadlock and give his side a 22-19 lead. But Wainuiomata attacked with one final raid up into Rimutaka's territory and scored through second five-eighth Eden Monu with fulltime up.
In an all-action first half, Rimutaka had outscored Wainuiomata three tries to two to lead 19-12 at halftime. Four of the five tries were scored by wings but it was in the forwards where a hotly contested battle was unfolding.
Rimutaka delivered the first blow in just the third minute when wing Simon Tutaki crossed. Wainuiomata answered with back-to-back tries scored by wing Tumua Sione and No. 8 Peni Peni to take a 12-5 lead.
This was followed by two tries in two minutes to right wing Jesse Dolman, put into space by second five-eighth Clayton Masina for his first and coming into the backline to score a slick second try after a penalty and attacking lineout in the 22.
Wainuiomata scored through flanker Matt Sole soon after halftime, leveling the game up at 19-19. Rimutaka had their chances to re-take the lead but couldn't crack the now massively committed close quarter defence. Eventually, with about five minutes to play, they were awarded a penalty. MacDonald made no mistake and Rimutaka were back in front at 22-19.
However Wainuiomata regrouped and scored the match winner right on fulltime - making Rimutaka's clash with Johnsonville at Helston Park in round five a big match for both sides.
In the Senior 1 Ed Chaney Cup, Petone grabbed their fourth consecutive win, beating Ories 32-15. The win for Petone puts them four points clear at the top of the table to Avalon, Wellington and Poneke who all have three wins from four.
In other Senior 1 results, Wellington beat Poneke 19-10, Avalon defeated Upper Hutt 22-15, HOBM edged Paremata-Plimmerton 28-25 and Tawa grabbed their first win beating OBU 24-10.In the Senior 2 HD Morgan Memorial its HOBM out in front and unbeaten after four rounds after their 36-5 win over Norths.
Behind HOBM with three wins from four are OBU, Petone and MSP who all registered fourth round wins.MSP defeated Stokes Valley 25-8, Petone beat Ories 49-15 and OBU overcame Avalon 24-5. In the round-s other match Poneke grabbed their first win, beating winless Wests 23-13.
Wainuiomata were the big winners of the seventh round of Premier Women's matches. They beat Eketahuna 45-5 to consolidate second on the table behind Norths who beat Stokes Valley 20-7. In the round's other match OBU defeated Ories 24-0.