Above: Wellington Pride centre Monica Tagoai threads her way through Otago traffic in their match this afternoon. Photo by Caswell Images, more photos at this link here
There were four Wellington representative teams in action in away games this afternoon, for two wins and two losses.
The Wellington 13s ended their short representative season with a 7-64 defeat to the Hawke’s Bay U14s in Palmerston North, while the U18 schoolgirls side beat the Hawke’s Bay schoolgirls 36-12 in Ashhurst.
The U13s were defeated by size. They played well and trailed 7-17 at halftime, before the much bigger Hawke’s Bay U14s wore them down in the second spell. No. 8 Emmanuel Solomona and wing Junior Paulo both played well for Wellington.
The Wellington Pride beat Otago 41-19 in Dunedin, while the Wellington Development side missed out to the Tasman Bs 27-29 in Blenheim. Short round-ups of their matches below.
The Wellington Lions encounter Otago tomorrow at Westpac Stadium, the Wellington U18s play Tonga U18s Schools on Monday at Jerry Collins Stadium and the Wellington U16A and U16 Development teams play in the Hurricanes tournament in Wanganui all next week.
The Wellington bounced back into the Farah Palmer Cup winner’s circle with a 41-19 win over the Otago Spirit under the roof at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium today.
The Pride put in a strong second half shift to come from behind to win six tries to three and keep their semi-finals aspirations on the front foot with two round-robin matches to come against defending champions Counties-Manukau and in-form Canterbury.
The Pride overhauled a 7-19 deficit to run in 33 unanswered points starting just before halftime, scoring the bonus point try with about 15 minutes to play. Better discipline also proved decisive, a run of yellow cards starting late in the first half costly for the home side.
A lively start by both teams saw the Spirit out-score the Pride two tries to one and lead 12-7 after the opening 30 minutes, before both sides scored again just before the break.
Otago fullback Sheree Hume made a piercing break from her own side of halfway and beat the last defender, her opposite Reijeli Uluinayau, to score. The conversion by first five-five-eighth Olivia Waldron put them ahead 19-7.
Right on the oranges, the Pride were awarded a penalty try, making it 19-14 to the Spirit at the turnaround.
The Pride made a bright and breezy start to the second half, scoring a converted try under the posts to take the lead for the first time in the match.
This was followed by a second try in quick succession, which, despite the conversion being charged down, put the Pride in front 26-19.
The bonus point now secured, another try in the corner put them in front 36-19 with only a few minutes remaining, followed by the icing on the cake at the end to make the final score 41-19.
The margin of victory was similar to their 40-20 win over Otago last year, and it was their 11th win in 20 Women’s NPC games against them dating back to 1999.
Women's NPC results updated Saturday evening here
The Wellington Development side went down in the dying embers to the Tasman Bs at Landsdowne Park in Blenheim this afternoon.
Tasman’s James Hawkey stepped up from 40 metres out to kick a penalty to give his side the two-point win at the end, after Wellington had led 27-26 heading into the final few minutes.
In a match that was close throughout, little separated the teams and Tasman held an 18-13 lead at the halftime turnaround.
Tasman’s Hawkey and Wellington and Marist St Pat’s fullback Andrew Wells exchanged early penalties to advance the score to 6-6, before Tasman wing Johnny Ika capitalised on a kick-off error to score the game’s first try.
Wellington and Johnsonville prop Chris Mafi replied with a try from a forwards drive and Wells converted from out wide to make it 13-13.
Tasman was able to score their second try just before the interval, crossing through their backline division.
Old Boys Univesity flanker Sam Coventry scored after good lead-up involving isnde backs, Petone’s Piri Paraone and Northern United’s Perry Hayman, to level it all up again at 18-18.
Paraone assumed the kicking duties and landed a penalty to give Wellington a 21-18, but Tasman re-took the lead early in the fourth quarter with a try through their midfield.
Wellington landed two more penalties and held a slim lead again, but Tasman had the final say.
The Wellington Development outfit hosts Canterbury Development at Jerry Collins Stadium in its second of two matches remaining on its schedule.
Scores: Tasman B 29 (Johnny Ika, Fletcher Matthews, Chris Kerslake tries, James Hawkey 4 pen, con) Wellington Development 27 (Chris Mafi, Sam Coventry tries, Andrew Wells 2 pen, con, Piri Paraone 3 pen). HT: 18-13 Tasman B