Yellows' stumble hands Jubilee Cup to COB
College Old Boys can thank an unlikely ally for helping them claim the Jubilee Cup in final week of the first round of McDonalds Manawatu Senior One Club Rugby.
With a bye on Saturday, the table-toppers, who lost just one game in the first round, were cheerful spectators as Kia Toa pulled off an upset to beat Feilding Yellows 14-12.
Yellows were far from the polished product which rolled COB just seven days earlier.
The defending Jubilee Cup holders needed a four-try bonus-point win to retain the cup but left with neither.
The impact of Drew Wild, Josiah Maraku and Malua Iakopo’s absences from their backline proved key while their forward pack was not able to assert the dominance they needed to around the field.
The match ending in golden oldies scrums when Kia Toa prop Ben Lynch-Phillips left the field did not help Yellows either.
Uncontested scrums gave Kia Toa a steady platform they had not enjoyed for most of the match and proved telling as Moleli Mauola scooted across for the match-winner in the 68th minute.
But Yellows had themselves to blame for the result.
From the opening kickoff, it was clear that Kia Toa were fired up for the crucial match, which not only halted Yellows’ six-match winning but keeps Kia Toa in touching distance of the top four.
Fullback Keaton Kawana was the first to strike for Kia Toa as he charged down a Griffin Culver clearance and pounced on the loose ball.
The scrums were messy and plagued with persistent resets, but when they did hold up, Yellows were easily dominant.
Yellows managed two first half tries to prop Luke Clarke and second five-eighth Carlos Ropoama-Third to take a 12-7 advantage into the break.
That was where the score remained until Mauola’s try.
Kia Toa’s best were Moeaki Samita, Fraser Stone and Jaxson Taylor, while Yellows’ standouts were Zane Dallinger and Griffin Culver.
The match of the round saw Feilding Old Boys-Oroua defend their home turf 24-20 against Varsity at Johnston Park.
The win saw the Stags blast past Yellows on the standings to finish the first round in second place while Varsity were left eight points adrift the top four.
Despite their gap on the table, these were two evenly matched sides who went tit for tat all match.
When Fob-Oroua prop Rob Ratana crossed for the first try of the match, the seven-point margin would be the largest gap for the entire 80 minutes.
The Stags had the best of the opening tussles and the upper hand in the scrum. Ratana, Ollie Brosnahan and Blair Osborne were constant threats.
But midway through the second half, there was a shift in momentum.
Varsity capitalise with a brace of tries to wing Korie Winters - the second set up by a brilliant individual run from Hamish Northcott.
The Sky Blues led 12-7 at the break, but FOB-Oroua kept the pressure on.
Shaq Waara crossed from short-range, then Osborne found the perfect line to put his side ahead 21-15.
Cody Hemi closed the gap to one-point with a try, but missed kicks were proving costly for Varsity.
Between Hemi, Scott Davidson and Nick Birchfield, they missed two conversions and two penalties.
With the clock winding down, Tom Stewart kicked a key late penalty to push the margin to four where it stayed for the remainder of the match.
Te Kawau picked up their second win of the season 33-7 over Freyberg.
But it was Freyberg who walked away with the competition points after Te Kawau were found to have played four players not registered to their club, their second instance of playing unregistered players this season. The match has been recorded as a forfeit and four competition points awarded to Freyberg as per the competition bylaws.
The first half of the match was a tight contest as neither team managed to find the fluid attacking rhythm they needed.
But Te Kawau were doing a better job of keeping the scoreboard rolling over thanks to the boot of Mike Flett and an early try to Richard Tennant.
Freyberg managed a try of their own to Randy Liuvaie, but their improved attack late in the first half was not helped when No 8 Tom Finlay, one of their best on the park, was yellow carded in the 35th minute for offside play.
Freyberg were down 14-7 at the break and they let the match slip away as the passes began to stick for Te Kawau.
Freyberg’s new recruit, Turbos prop Faalelei Sione, was kept quiet for most of the match.
Tries to Karihi Potaka-Osborne, Gerrit van Schalkwyh and Scott Wheeler helped them take control of the match with the efforts of Kameli Kuruyabaki and Adam Boult telling.
Old Boys-Marist picked up five competition points following Linton Army’s withdrawal from the remainder of the 2019 season.
Kia Toa 14 (Keaton Kawana, Moleli Mauola tries; Kawana con) Feilding Yellows 12 (Luke Clarke, Carlos Ropoama-Third tries; Brad Carr con) HT 7-12
Feilding Old Boys-Oroua 24 (Rob Ratana, Shaq Waara, Blair Osbourne tries; Tom Stewart 3 con, pen) Varsity 20 (Korie Winters 2, Cody Hemi tries; Hemi con, Nick Birchfield pen) HT 7-12
Te Kawau 33 (Richard Tennant, Karihi Potaka-Osborne, Gerrit van Schalkwyh, Scott Wheeler tries; Adam Boult 2 con, Mike Flett 3 pen) Freyberg 7 (Randy Liuvaie try; Wiremu Morgan con) HT 14-7