Club Rugby amps up after Easter round

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Poneke with the Hakaraia Trophy after their two-point win over Wainuiomata

The Hutt Old Boys Marist Eagles and Northern United remain as the two unbeaten teams at the halfway point of the new 10-round Swindale Shield competition, following another tightly contested set of matches in windy conditions on Easter Saturday.

Hutt Old Boys Marist flew to their fifth straight win to start the season by beating the Wellington Axemen 51-5 in their first home match of the year, while Northern United powered past Tawa 35-22 away at Lyndhurst Park.

HOBM lead the standings after five rounds on 24 points, two clear of Norths on 22, who previously drew with Petone a fortnight ago.

Oriental-Rongotai are a point back from Norths in third after beating the Johnsonville Hawks 46-5 on their Old Timers’ Day at the Polo Grounds.

Poneke’s 21-19 win over Wainuiomata at William Jones Park places them fourth on 20 points, with Wainuiomata in fifth on 15.

Several teams are grouped together in the mid-table positions, following two other clutch results in the fifth round at Evans Bay Park and the Petone Recreation Ground.

In town, the Upper Hutt Rams beat Marist St Pats 26-25, while at Petone the home team celebrated their Old Timers’ Day with a 23-12 win over defending Jubilee Cup champions Old Boys University.

Both MSP and OBU will be in a scramble to make the ‘top 7’ and qualify for this year’s Jubilee Cup championship competition.

Elsewhere on Easter Saturday, the Avalon Wolves beat Paremata-Plimmerton 38-10 at Fraser Park to lift them to ninth place and right in the thick of that mid-table scramble for top 7 places.

In some around the grounds highlights, the Rams were celebrating their first win over Marist St Pats since 2002, when first five-eighth Tyler Tane kicked a match-winning penalty with the final act of the game.

Tyler’s penalty, from 35 metres out in front of the posts was for a high tackle that came moments after he had kicked a difficult conversion from out wide of a late try to left wing Soli Malatai, that had cut MSPs lead from 25-16 to 25-23.

It was heartbreak for MSP supporters, whose team had fought back from a 3-16 deficit midway through the first half to close to within a point of the Rams by halftime. MSP’s forwards got on top of the Rams and established a clear dominance in the set-pieces as the second half unfolded.

A Willie Schutz penalty put MSP up 18-16 after 50 minutes, before the try of the match with 15 minutes to play went to right wing Iosefo Aukusitino, following a break by left wing Faresa Tasale.

Petone beat Old Boys University for the Marc Verhoeven Memorial Trophy with a concerted first half defensive effort proving telling for the Villagers on their Old Timers’ Day.

OBU led Petone 12-3 at halftime on the back of a strong forwards effort and tries to returning lock Ian Kennedy and Jonathon Fuimaono, but could have been up by more at the break.

Playing into the wind, Petone laid on 20 points in the second half as OBU’s discipline slipped and prop Alipate Soke crossed early and halfback Logan Henry kicked goals to put them up 13-12.

Henry’s third penalty put them up 16-12, before OBU’s discipline fell to pieces and they were reduced to 13 players including the red carding of former Hurricanes and All Blacks lock Jason Eaton. Henry sealed victory with the match-sealing try and conversion.

Poneke took home the Hakaraia Trophy with their two-point win over Wainuiomata

Wainuiomata started with an early try to lock Bevan Clark into the wind, before Poneke gained momentum and took the lead through two Pakai Turia penalties and then tries to Nick Robertson and debutant Brandon Feterika. Poneke led 16-7 at halftime.

A second half arm-wrestle developed, after Wainuiomata had closed the gap through two Josh Robertson-Weepu penalties, before  flyhalf Turia made a break and kicked ahead for Robertson to gather and score off to collect his double. Two more penalties brought Wainuiomata close, but they ran out of time.

Norths won the Sammy Saili Trophy and the ‘Battle of the Bridge’ bragging rights with their 13-point win over Tawa.

Like at William Jones, it was the home team that made a promising start, going ahead 10-0 through a penalty and a converted try to No. 8 Folau Vea. Both sides saw players sent to the sin-bin, as Norths came back to level 10-10, before right wing Thomas Temu crossed in the corner to put Tawa up 15-10 at the break.

Norths started the second half with a converted try to flyhalf Jayden McCarthy to go up 17-15, before Tawa regained the lead with another Clarke penalty.

From there, Norths hit the lead and two tries to No. 8 Luca Rees saw them pull clear for a late 32-18 advantage. Tawa struck back with a try to replacement hooker Des Matofai, but a Norths penalty closed the contest in their favour.

At the Polo Ground, Oriental-Rongotai celebrated their Old Timers’ Day with a 46-5 win over the Johnsonville Hawks for the Ash Pointon Memorial Cup.

The Magpies soared to 14-0 lead with two early converted tries, then to 19-0 with the conversion out wide of right wing Tuga Mativa. A try from a stolen lineout made it 24-0 and then another on the halftime buzzer to first five-eighth Malo Manuao gave them a 31-0 lead at the turnaround.

The second half saw three more Ories tries, the first two scored by second five-eighth Takumi Yoshimoto and prop Connor Lemon sealing the eight tries to one win. Johnsonville’s sole try was scored by replacement back Liuteine Sua.

The Avalon Wolves beat Paremata-Plimmerton 38-10, but were pushed hard by the visitors to Fraser Park.

Paremata-Plimmerton had use of the wind in the first 40 minutes and they led 10-7 at halftime. They maintained their lead early in the second half, but Avalon finally broke through to score tries, with fullback Tajun Crossland-Misa and blindside flanker Scott Waldrom scoring to put them up 19-10.

Avalon’s win was cemented when they were next awarded a penalty try following a high tackle in the corner that stopped a certain try.

The Hutt Old Boys Marist Eagles won their fifth straight victory in their first home game at the Hutt Recreation Ground, defeating the Wellington Axemen 51-5.

Right wing Nash Fiso and replacement prop Willie Rua each scored braces in the Eagles’ eight tries to one win. They had their bonus point sewn up several minutes before halftime and finished the first half with a sweeping try to make it 29-0 at the interval.

Harper Lock Shield

Marist St Pats were clinical in beating the Upper Hutt Rams 21-0 in what was a top-of-the-table Premier Reserve clash.

The Rams pushed the unbeaten defending champions close, but MSP responded with several periods of stifling defence and there was simply no way through for them.

MSP scored first after about 20 minutes to lead 7-0 and then doubled their lead to 14-0 with a try on halftime.

Replacement MSP first five-eighth Fa’atonu Fili helped control much of the second half with his astute territorial kicking game, before laying on a classy no look pass in setting up a breakout try and the match-winner towards the closing stages of the second spell.

In the other match between unbeaten teams, Northern United defeated Tawa 31-26, to see these two sides second equal on the standings behind leaders MSP.

Ories are fifth after beating Johnsonville 52-5, just ahead of Poneke who beat Waiuiomata 45-19. In, Poneke kicked clear in the second half, scoring five of their seven tries into the wind,

In the other Harper Lock Shield fixtures, Petone edged OBU 28-24, HOBM beat Wellington 39-14 and Avalon overcame Paremata-Plimmerton 29-19 in their battle of the second XVs.


Women’s Rebecca Liua’ana Trophy

In the Women’s Rebecca Liua’ana Trophy third round, Oriental-Rongotai went to the top of the standings with a win over the Old Boys University Impalas by default.

The three matches that were played today were one-sided affairs.

Northern United returned from their bye to account for Poneke 94-0. Right wing Ofa Tuangalu scored four of their 16 tries, while Harmony Ioane (3) and Lyric Faleafaga (2) cashed in off the bench.

Petone defeated Marist St Pat’s 39-5 in a match that was called off barely 5 minutes into the second half owing to Marist St Pats being down on playing numbers. MSP were reduced to 12 through injury.

Of Petone’s 39 points, centre Sieni Mose scored 19, including a hat-trick, while openside flanker Jackie Patea-Fereti also scored a hat-trick and right wing Sophie Devine drove one straight for a try.

Over the hill at Mary Crowther Park, HOBM defeated Wainuiomata 47-15, with midfield and outside backs Danica Tavite, Siteri Tabua and Tyler Bentley all scoring braces. HOBM led 26-5 at halftime.