Kia Toa eliminated by impressive Varsity
Kia Toa, a mainstay of the Hankins Shield semi-finals, have been decisively booted from the playoff race after a 66-5 loss to Varsity, while Old Boys-Marist have locked in their spot.
The last time Kia Toa weren’t involved in the top four was 2007, but they have looked off the pace all year with their loss on Saturday removing any mathematical chance of them making the semifinals.
Meanwhile the Sky Blues have transformed their season from disappointment to a likely top four spot and a real threat for the title.
Varsity’s win means they take on Feilding Old Boys-Oroua next weekend in what will essentially be a quarterfinal.
For the first time this season, it all came together for Varsity as their forward pack dominated up front and at set piece, while their backline finally lived up to their attacking potential.
Mickey Woolliams, Nick Grogan, Tom Hughes, Atonio Walker-Leawere and Kirk Tufuga all turned on fine displays while Scott Davidson was impressive running the cutter.
Kia Toa looked short on ideas attacking, often moving side to side. But Varsity were much more ruthless when they had their chances.
When Grogan crossed for Varsity’s third try in the 20th minutes, the match looked to be in the bag.
All hope for Kia Toa was gone 10 minutes later when Keaton Kawana slapped down as Te Rangatira Waitokia pass to an un-marked TamaToa Ropati. Referee Matt McEwen ruled a penalty try, yellow carding Kawana in the process.
From there, they romped home.
College Old Boys locked up the Centennial Shield with a 62-3 win over Freyberg.
Freyberg drew the first blood with a Randy Liuvaie penalty, but it was all one-way traffic from there.
In the 10th minute, Jacob Hewetson-Talamaivao scored after Cory Purton broke away from a rolling maul starting the COB onslaught.
Hewetson-Talamaivao was one of the stars for COB, along with Sunao Takizawa, Sei Grewe and Michael George.
Feilding Yellows were similarly decisive with their 56-17 win over Te Kawau.
Yellows opened the scoring when Drew Wild broke from inside Yellows’ 22 and set up Brad Carr for a long-range try.
Tries of such distance were a staple for the match with Josiah Maraku and Carr both featuring prominently including three intercept tries.
They led 28-12 at halftime and closed out the second half well.
Te Kawau had some strong phases with Sam Stewart and Adam Boult playing leading roles.
Their three tries prove they are a contender for the Val Holland Trophy.
Old Boys-Marist have put themselves on track for the semi-finals with a 33-14 win over FOB-Oroua.
OBM had the wood up front and they did well to convert their opportunities into points.
Nineteen unanswered points in the first half proved the key, built on the platform set by the likes of Ben Kimber and Benedict Grant.
FOB-Oroua had moments with Tyler Moeau, Alex Hawira and Junior Laloifi all showing flashes of their individual brilliance.
But it never looked enough to get them over the line for the win.
Varsity 66 (Doug Juszczyk 2, Daryl Lander, Potene Rolls-Paewai, Ueta Tufuga, Nick Grogan, Tom Hughes, Kirk Tufuga, Korie Winters, penalty tries; Scott Davidson 5, Jayden Falcon con, Grogan con) Kia Toa 5 (Kirihi Hunia-Nohotima try) HT 35-5.
OB-Marist 33 (Josh Greer, Bradley Fountain, Ben Kimber, Chris Long, Luke Hall tries; Hayden Hill 4 con) FOB-Oroua 14 (Jamie Perigo, Alex Hawira tries; Shai Wiperi con, Tom Stewart con) HT 19-0.
College OB 62 (Andrew McDougall 2, Zane Te Rangi, Rawiri Chambers, Jacob Hewett-Talamaivao, Gene Syminton, Devin Scott, Josh McIntyre, Stewart Cruden tries; Cruden 5, Michael George cons) Freyberg 3 (Randy Liuvaie pen) HT 27-3.
Feilding 56 (Josiah Maraku 2, Zane Dallinger, Brad Carr, Carlos Ropoama-Third, Luke Clarke, Ben Wyness tries; Carr 5 con, 3 pen; Clarke con) Te Kawau 17 (Sam Stewart, Dominic Broadhead, Gerrit van Schalkwyk tries; Adam Boult con) HT 28-12.