Varsity clinch semi final spot
Kia Toa were chasing second place hard and did their part to get up over Feilding in the final game of the round, the return of Jono Ihaka to the Kia Toa backline was significant as he bagged himself a try and often would cause trouble for the Fielding backs. The loose forwards for Kia’s worked hard throughout and were rewarded for their efforts with Spencer Bishop and Jackson Iose bagging tries meanwhile Leighton Ralph and Jade Te Rure also got in on the scoring action with Ralph bagging a try and Te Rure successful with 3 conversions and 2 penalties. There was a sense of complacency amongst the Yellows backs in patches however they fought hard and by no means are on the downward slope however would prefer to have carried some confidence into their first playoffs in a decade.
Kia Toa were relying on Linton to trip up FOB Oroua to keep their nose ahead on the points table or at least deny them a bonus point. FOB Oroua however were having none of that, stamping their authority and securing their first home playoff since 2010 with a big win over a depleted Army side who continue to have players on exercises making it difficult for coaches to string together combinations and consistent results. The try scoring was spread evenly amongst the players with eight of them getting across the line. Zeon McNabb and Paora Rakatau had good days with the boot with 6 successful conversion between them.
Freyberg started the stronger of the two sides out at Rongotea with an early rolling maul try to Jeremiah Saua. Te Kawau however didn’t take long to hit back with a fragmented Freyberg chase line allowing Adam Boult to slice through at will providing opportunities for others. The slow Rongotea mud made for a stop start match with a high number of errors with ball in hand. Shaun Lawton Sue spent 10 minutes in the bin early for not protecting his teeth however Te Kawau were unphased scoring two tries in this period. Freyberg looked the stronger in patches however Te Kawau had too much pace out wide with Ethan Woodmass being provider on a number of occasions. Jordan Stewart nudged over from close range and Steak Tennant worked hard for his 80 minutes almost pulling off the pass of the year only for it to go forward on the line. Te Kawau in the end were comfortable winners although the score did not reflect the match for Freyberg.
I the final fixture to decide the semi final spots, COB were odds on to take the win after a strong lead in and with Varsity struggling at the back end, the situation became tougher with Varsity with two men in the bin just one minute apart having to play with 6 forwards for a period of time. However Mickey Woolliams scooted in under the sticks with 5 minutes on the clock to give Varsity a lead they never relinquished securing their place in the Hankins Shield semi finals, meaning that COB will miss out for the first time since 2008.
Kia Toa 37 (S Bishop, J Iose, A Henare, J Ihaka, L Ralph tries; J Te Rure 3 con, 2 pen)
Feilding 21 (A Ratugolea, S Wasley tries; G Culver x 1 con, B Wyness x 3 pens)
Varsity 16 (M Wooliams try; S Davidson 1 con, 3 pen)
Te Kawau 32 (J Stewart 2, E Woodmass, T Albert, S Lawton-Sue, A Boult tries; T Kauri 1 con)
Freyberg 12 (J Saua, M Lockwood tries; U Saifua 1 con)
FOBO 62 (M Fryatt, J Perigo 2, H Taueki 2, L Puts, O Brosnahan, H Bennett, A Hawira, T Sola Perenara tries; P Rakatau 3, Z McNabb 3)