Dave Lintott Photography is covering the National U19 tournament. More photos here
Waikato and Counties Manukau will both have the chance to defend their titles at the National Under-19 tournament on Saturday after wins in their respective semi-finals on Wednesday.
Wellington had another disappointing day, losing to Tasman. Wellington will play Manawatu for seventh place, their worst finish in four years of the tourney.
Wellington made a woeful start against Tasman, slumping to a 28-0 deficit in the first-half. To their credit the junior Lions fought back, but never had the lead in a match they deserved to lose.
Tasman outscored Wellington six tries to four with William Havili, the brother of Crusader David Havili, dotting down twice and slotting four conversions to finish with an individual haul of 18 points.
Wellington’s four tries were scored by Adam Clarke, Angus Morton, Denny To’o and Kaliopasi Uluilakepa.
Wellington beat Manawatu 15-8 in the Hurricanes seeding tourney. Manawatu was thrashed 54-7 by Bay of Plenty. Giant prop Jarryd Broughton rumbled over for two tries as did NZ Schools flanker Ajay Mua.
The Graham Mourie Cup final will feature the same combatants as 2016 after Auckland and Waikato had contrasting wins in their semi-finals.
Auckland thumped Canterbury 44-10 with first-five Harry Plummer scoring two tries and 29 points. Plummer’s tally is a record in a semi-final and after two games he had scored 51 points.
Waikato struggled past North Harbour 27-20. In an even, but stop-start affair a late try to Melville halfback Xavier Roe earned Waikato victory.
Earlier, both sides exchanged two tries each. North Harbour No.8 Nathan Vaatausili reviled again and scored a try. Josh Moorby at fullback was dangerous for Waikato and crossed the chalk for the defending champions.
Graham Mourie Cup Premiership Results
Waikato: 27 v North Harbour: 20 (Semi-Final)
Auckland: 44 v Canterbury: 10 (Semi-Final)
Tasman: 38 v Wellington: 26
Bay of Plenty: 54 v Manawatu: 7
Counties Manukauwill play Southland in the Michael Jones Trophy final after both sides enjoyed big wins. Counties overwhelmed Hawke’s Bay 20-3 scoring three unanswered tries, while surprise package Southland was even more prolific trouncing Heartland 36-8. Jay Renton scored two tries and with four tries in two matches is the leading try scorer at the tourney.
Taranaki had an entertaining 34-26 win over Auckland Development. New Zealand Schools first-five Ciarahn Matoe was the difference in a match which saw both sides score four tries each. Matoe scored a try and kicked four conversions and two penalties.
Otago were the biggest winners of the day thrashing Northland 52-9. Otago scored eight tries with the son of former All Black Aaron Pene, Sam Pene touching down. Toma Yarell and Tatai Procter grabbed two tries each and George Witana had a busy day scoring a try and slotting six conversions.
Michael Jones Trophy Championship Results
Counties Manukau: 20 v Hawke’s Bay: 3 (Semi-Final)
Southland: 36 v Heartland: 8 (Semi-Final)
Taranaki: 34 v Auckland Development: 26
Otago: 52 v Northland: 9
Play off matches
10.45am Northland v Auckland Development (15th/16th)
12pm Hawke’s Bay v Heartland (11th/12th)*
12.30pm Otago v Taranaki (13th/14th)
1.40pm North Harbour v Canterbury (3rd/4th)*
2.15pm Wellington v Manawatu (7th/8th)
4pm Tasman v Bay of Plenty (5th/6th)
Michael Jones Trophy Final
3.20pm Counties Manukau v Southland*
Graham Mourie Cup Final
5pm Waikato v Auckland*