The men’s and women’s Metro Club champions will be found this weekend, with the Women’s Trophy being played between Christchurch and University on Saturday afternoon, followed by the Hawkins Division 1 final between Lincoln University and New Brighton on Sunday afternoon. Lincoln University will be defending the Hawkins Trophy in the men’s final. It has been one win apiece when Lincoln University and New Brighton have met in this year’s club season.
With a twinkle in his eye, a grin as wide as his sidestep, and pace and skill to kill, Damian McKenzie has taken Super Rugby by storm this year, and is now gearing up for the biggest game of his career in Saturday night's Super Rugby semifinal against the Hurricanes in Wellington. The 21-year-old dynamo has been the architect of so many Chiefs attacks this year, featuring so brilliantly in their up-tempo game, among the competition's best in several stats categories, and is coming off a man-of-the-match 25-point haul in the quarterfinal win over the Stormers in Cape Town. Read more here
Awanui won their fourth Mangonui senior club rugby title on the trot in emphatic style, proving far too slick for Te Rarawa in the Bell Shield final at Arnold Rae Park on Saturday. Meanwhile, the champions mounted a successful defence of the Bay of Islands Rugby Union championship title, Kerikeri beating Moerewa 41-22. Read more here
Rakaia will attempt to claim a fourth straight Watters Cup title when they meet Southern in the Mid Canterbury senior rugby final at the Ashburton Showgrounds on Saturday. The defending champions were rampant in the preliminary final outclassing hosts Celtic 48-12 to advance to the grand final. A double from wing Seta Koroitamana had Rakaia ahead 12-6 (with Mid Canterbury trialling the six-point try system) at halftime, with Celtic's Christian Vainerere scoring for the homeside. Read more here
It went down to the very last play but Melville are champions of Waikato premier club rugby for the first time in 35 years. An 11-6 victory over Hamilton Old Boys on Saturday did the trick and Melville's entire bench went wild at full-time, with everyone sprinting around the turf in joy and disbelief. Tears, euphoria and joyous scenes gripped everyone connected to the club, who can celebrate Melville's first Breweries Shield title success since 1981. Read more here
Counties Manukau Steelers coaches Darryl Suasua, Grant Henson and Semo Sititi have announced their squad for the 2016 National Provincial Championship. The squad includes 12 new players, with New Zealand Under 20’s representatives Jonathan Taumateine and Orbyn Leger among the new faces. Former New Zealand Secondary Schools captain Sootala Fa’aso’o is included in the squad alongside returning Chiefs hooker Hika Elliot. The squad has been hit hard by injury throughout the Super Rugby season. Read more here
The top-qualifying Hurricanes will next weekend host the Chiefs in Wellington, while the defending champion Highlanders will travel to Johannesburg for an encounter with the Lions in next weekend's Investec Super Rugby semi-finals. Read more here
Bombay are odds on favourites to win Counties Manukau club rugby's McNamara Cup for the third year running. But they'll be kidding themselves if they think Ardmore Marist is going to cooperate with their attempts at a three-peat. The red, blue and whites from Bruce Pulman Park have fast become the masters of sudden death rugby, a consequence of having to win 10 games in a row to get to the final, and will have few butterflies going into the biggest game of their year. Kick-off at ECOLight Stadium, Saturday 2.45pm. Read here for more
Dunedin and Kaikorai leaned on completely different game plans to get them through to today's Otago Metropolitan Premier final at Forsyth Barr Stadium, kick-off 3pm. When the pressure came on during the semifinal, Dunedin kept the ball in the middle of the park and in the hands of the forwards and look for a penalty. Kaikorai's first thought was to go wide and attack through its classy midfield and speed out wide. Dunedin eventually got its penalty and Kaikorai scored two tries in the last five minutes to beat University A. It is not the final many predicted but it should offer a fascinating contrast of styles. . Read more here
The smart money would be on a Eastern-Northern Barbarians win in the 2016 Galbraith Shield final on Saturday.After all the Gore-based club has been unbeaten through their 16 games to date this season and their selections for the decider simply highlight the team's depth in 2016. However, there is one aspect which has some swinging the way of a Woodlands win at Rugby Park in Invercargill - finals experience. Woodlands has been the most successful club in Southland's premier rugby in the past decade. Read more here
Above: Three strikes and you’re out. Willis Halaholo, Beauden Barrett and Victor Vito cross the whitewash for the Hurricanes against the Chiefs in their Super Rugby semi-final . The Hurricanes will greet the red-hot Lions with a sea of yellow when they meet in Wellington this year’s Super Rugby final next Saturday night.
South Canterbury Coach Barry Matthews has been appointed Head Coach of New Zealand Heartland XV today, and will be assisted by Poverty Bay Head Coach, Mutu Ngarimu. Matthews takes up his first campaign with the national team while Ngarimu returns for a second season. The New Zealand Heartland XV squad, due to be selected from Mitre 10 Heartland Championship sides at the end of the 2016 season, will play New Zealand Marist and Australian Barbarians.
Several regions had their finals on Saturday, which provided for big afternoons and in some case evenings of community rugby around the country. Finalists were found in other competitions, while semi-finalists were decided in others that still have a fortnight to run.
There some exciting and eye-catching club rugby results around New Zealand on Saturday 16 July, including some thrilling semi-finals and finals.
Knockout rugby is upon us in many regions around the country, with several playoff and semi-finals rounds all underway this weekend. The first week of playoffs in North Harbour saw a thriller between Northcote and East Coast Bays, who were locked at 10-10 at fulltime before a golden point extra time score gave Northcote a 13-10 win.