Varsity steady the ship
Varsity took back control of their season with by piling on the points late to record a 43-22 win over Kia Toa.
Both sides entered the match with less than desirable records for the regular title contenders.
Varsity’s seven tries to three performance proved their playoff credentials are well and truly alive.
Bolstered by the returns of the likes of Hamish Northcott, Tom Hughes and Te Rangatira Waitokia, it was a much more polished performance.
However, it was Kia Toa who opened the scoring thanks to an 80 metre intercept try to Trevhan Tau’fo’ou inside the first two minutes.
But as has often been the case for Kia Toa, they quickly allowed their opponents back into the match as Northcott waltzed over in the eighth minute.
Waitokia exposed the same left flank just three minutes later which had the alarm bells ringing for Kia Toa.
Varsity would score once more through Ueta Tufuga to stretch the lead to 19-7.
Too often, Kia Toa failed to capitalise on their opportunities as they struggled to break down the Varsity defence.
Eventually Michael Lockwood burrowed his way over for Kia Toa after some impressive carries from Dan Mongahan and Fraser Stone.
At 19-14 at halftime, the door remained open for a Kia Toa comeback if their forward pack could take control of the tight exchanges.
But Varsity were able to call on big performances from Hughes, Mickey Woolliams and Kirk Tufuga to get some go-forward.
A Woolliams try put Varsity in a commanding position, but Moeli Mauola kept Kia Toa in the fight with a try of his own.
With 20 minutes to play, Kia Toa crumbled.
An easy try off the back of a scrum to Kirk Tufuga, a second to Ueta Tufuga and a good team try to Ian Burmeister saw Varsity race away with the win.
College Old Boys continued their dominance with a 39-27 win over defending champions Feilding Old Boys-Oroua.
The table-toppers had to fight back after falling behind 17-15 at the break.
Stewart Cruden came to the fore in the second half as the young first five-eighth took control of the game.
FOB-Oroua scored the first try of the second half after COB mixed up a high ball, but then it became one-way traffic.
Over the next 20 minutes, COB fired off four tries as they constantly out flanked the Stags.
Linton bounced back from their default in week five to pick up a 22-14 win over Freyberg in week six.
In a back and forth affair, both sides appeared evenly matched and Freyberg looked to have the upper hand early on.
They challenged Linton out wide, but the soldiers were up to the task.
A try apiece in the first half saw Linton take a 10-7 lead into the break.
But Linton took little time to stamp their mark on the second half as halfback TeJay Oliver darted across for a try.
Ten minutes into the second half, Linton were dealt a hefty blow when Sione Akau received his second yellow card of the match and was subsquently given an early shower.
Freyberg fought their way back when first five-eighth Randy Liuvaie crossed from a charge 10m out from the line.
It was not until there was just three minutes to play that the match was finalised as Jaxon Tagavaitau opted to hoist his penalty down the centre of the field rather than the touch line and a chasing TamaToa Ropati was the benefactor of the bouncing ball which left the Freyberg fullback bamboozled.
Old Boys-Marist picked up their fourth win of the season 31-12 against Te Kawau.
While OBM were deserving of their victory, it was hardly the polished performance they were after.
Three first half tries saw them take control of the match, but the Te Kawau pack were having a top day at the office causing plenty of disruptions.
The second half was a tighter affair with Te Kawau’s scrum earning them a penalty try.
But OBM still managed two tries to secure the match.
College OB 39 (Awatere Kiwara 2, Michael George, Willie Paia'aua, Michael Walsh, Jahlon Governor tries; Stewart Cruden 3 con, pen) FOB-Oroua 27 (Tom Stewart, Ollie Brosnahan, Shaq Waara, Paul Rakatau-Wiperi tries; Tom Stewart 2 con, pen) HT 15-17.
Varsity 43 (Ueta Tufuga 2, Hamish Northcott, Te Rangitira Waitokia, Mickey Woolliams, Kirk Tufuga, Ian Burmeister tries; Nick Birchfield 2 con, Scott Davison 2 con) Kia Toa 22 (Trevahn Tau'fo'u, Michael Lockwood, Moeli Mauola tries; Jono Ihaka 2 con, pen) HT 19-14
Linton Army 22 (Tejay Oliver, Jaxon Tagavaitau, TamaToa Ropati tries; Bailey Taylor con, pen, Caleb Thomas con) Freyberg 14 (Randy Liuvaie, Jacob Freeman-Broderick tries; Wiremu Morgan 2 con) HT 10-7
OB-Marist 31 (Luke Hall, Jeremy Dobson, Hunter Waller, Will Treder, Matene Ruawai tries; James Holland 3 con) Te Kawau 12 (Gerrit van Schalkwyk, penalty tries) HT 19-5