Action from the Wellington v Canterbury semi-final. PHOTO CREDIT: https://www.facebook.com/NationalUnder19s/
Either Bay of Plenty or Canterbury will be crowned the best Under-19 team in New Zealand on Saturday.
On day two of the Jock Hobbs Memorial tournament at Owen Delany Park in Taupo, both unions enjoyed commanding victories in their respective Graham Mourie Cup semi-finals.
Meanwhile in the Michael Jones Trophy a new champion will be anointed after Otago edged Counties 27-25.
Counties was down 24-22 with five minutes remaining, but an angled 35-meter penalty by Tala Potifara regained the lead for the defending champions.
Counties dropped the kick-off and collapsed an Otago maul presenting Kody Edwards with a winning chance. The first-five duly slotted the goal from a similar distance to Potifara’s strike.
Otago will play Waikato in the decider after Waikato posted their second half-century in four days.
Canterbury: 39 v Wellington: 22
An early second-half blitz earned Canterbury a resounding 39-22 victory over Wellington.
Scores were tied 15-15 at halftime, but 17 points in the first ten minutes of the second-spell firmly turned the pendulum Canterbury’s way.
In an attempt to bolster a creaky scrum, Wellington replaced loosehead prop Laurence Lim at halftime with George Jacobs.
Initially the swap appeared to be a masterstroke with Wellington winning a tighthead. Canterbury responded angrily achieving a penalty from the Wellington feed.
Canterbury kicked for a lineout and following clean possession scored a try when second-five Dallas McLeod pushed through the midfield and set up wing Burns Mills.
McLeod repeatedly fractured the Wellington defence and in the 42nd minute another glaring hole appeared allowing Canterbury to break and Connor McManus to finish. Fergus Burke’s conversion made it 29-15.
At this stage Canterbury was rampant and a breakdown penalty, just outside the 22, allowed Burke to expand the lead further.
McLeod would impose himself from the outset, opening Canterbury’s account after two minutes following a Coel Kerr bust.
Canterbury fumbled the restart and Caleb Delaney snaffled and surged to the Canterbury 22, supplying Taine Plumtree who strode down the wing to complete. Callum Harkin converted from the side-line and it was 7-7.
A Burke penalty pushed Canterbury 10-7 ahead, before another Plumtree break went unrewarded.
After 21 minutes McLeod barged aside Kienan Higgins to secure his double, but the latter atoned for his blemish four minutes later by putting Tai Neil in space which sparked a movement finished by opposite wing Reuben Va’a.
Ironically Wellington levelled proceeding by punishing a Canterbury scrum infringement. Harkin was on target from 30-metres.
Wellington was thoroughly outplayed in the last 35 minutes. Canterbury No.8 Matthew Legota was an imposing figure and his thrust supplied a try for the accomplished Burke, who amassed 19 points.
Wellington's attitude couldn’t be faulted and Neli had the final say when Harkin chipped precisely for the Billy Goats speedster to rundown.
Plumtree along with No.8 Shamus Langton and lock Naitoa Ah Kuoi were the pick of the Junior Lions.
Bay of Plenty: 68 v North Harbour: 12
Bay of Plenty illustrated their attacking prowess immediately by crossing twice in the first eight minutes. The second Emoni Nawara breakout finished in a rolling maul try for Kohan Herbert and then a North Harbour spillage saw three quick passes release fullback Kaleb Trask.
North Harbour fought valiantly and on the back of a favourable penalty count closed to 14-12. Both Thomas Barham and David Meki bustled over from forward surges.
Bay of Plenty’s speed and precision when shifting the ball wide was mighty impressive, especially from North Harbour mistakes. The score always looked like it could mount quickly and it did with the support of abrasive tackling.
Bay of Plenty led 28-12 at halftime and scored the last 40 points unanswered.
Only once in the second-half did North Harbour enter the Bay of Plenty 22.
Trask was faultless from the tee and crossed twice in a classy display. Centre Lalamilo Lalamilo will be the source of nightmares for North Harbour and Bay of Plenty lost no momentum when they rolled the reserves.
Tasman: 35 v Hawke’s Bay: 33
Down 33-25, and reduced to 14 players for most of the last ten minutes, Tasman appeared headed for defeat against Hawke’s Bay.
Matters were made worse when fullback Josh McPherson missed an easy penalty attempt, essentially in front and only 15-metres out.
However a sudden intercept by Louis Lemper and a side-line conversion from McPherson reduced the deficit to one, setting the stage for a grandstand finish.
With six minutes to spare Tasman won a ruck penalty and McPherson was on target from 40-metres making the score 35-33.
The stung Magpies retaliated by building phases and crossing in the corner. Lock Rangatira Fox was ruled to have a foot in touch and the Markos held on.
Hawke’s Bay led for much of the contest with first-five Lincoln McClutchie scoring two tries and being denied a third for a knock on against the post. McClutchie glided into a hole and dashed 25-metres untouched for his first reward and then supported a bust from centre Danny Toala to have a double after 25 minutes.
Later McClutchie repaid Toala when they reversed roles allowing the Magpies centre to touch down.
Hawke’s Bay led for nearly an hour so how did they lose?
McPherson slotted six goals from seven attempts.
Second-five Nigel Satherley was a continuous threat, scoring a try and extending the defence with almost every carry.
Tasman’s forwards were more accurate inside the Hawke’s Bay 22. Prop Sam Moli and lock Caleb Havili were busy and both smashed over for tries.
Auckland: 41 v Taranaki: 20
The first-half was a spluttering affair with Auckland taking a narrow 17-13 lead to the sheds.
After the break Auckland took control of the scoreboard when John Cooper dribbled the ball football style from halfway with accuracy and pace.
Fullback Jack Gray is originally from Wellington and when he swerved and sprinted 60-meters with a fine piece of individual flair much of Taranaki’s will was broken.
Fatongia Paea was selected for the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ out of Sacred Heart College. The Auckland loosehead demonstrated his qualities with two tries and sound scrummaging.
Taranaki lock Tupou Vaa’i occasionally disrupted Auckland lineouts and carried effectively, awarded with a late try.
Graham Mourie Cup Results
Bay of Plenty: 68 (Kaleb Trask 2, Lalomilo Lalomilo 2, Kohan Herbert, Emoni Narawa, Dennon Robinson, Bartje Wierenga, Dylan Williams, Leroy Carter tries; Trask 6 con, Cole Forbes 3 con) North Harbour: 12 (Thomas Barham, David Meki tries; Jack Heighton con)
Tasman: 35 (Josh Grant, Caleb Havili, Luis Lemperle, Sam Moli; Josh McPherson 3 con, 3 pen) Hawke’s Bay: 33 (Lincoln McClutchie, Flynn Allen, Jacob Devery, Danny Toala tries; Toala 4 con)
Auckland: 41 (Fatongia Paea 2, John Cooper, Jack Gray, Thomas Strachan tries; Strachan 5 con, pen, John Cooper pen) Taranaki: 20 (Tevita Fa’ukafa, Tupou Vaa’i tries; Austin Brown 2 con, 2 pen)
Canterbury: 39 (Dallas McLeod 2, Fergus Burke, Conor McManus, Burns Mills tries; Burke 4 con, 2 pen) Wellington: 22 (Taine Plumtree, Reuben Vaá, Tai Neli tries; Callum Harkin 2 con, pen)
Michael Jones Trophy Results
Auckland Development: 40 (Michaile Van Wyk 3, Levi Filiga, Ben Sterritt tries; Viliami Sipa 3 con, 3 con) Manawatu: 17 (David Parker, Jack Sturmey, Tobias Wickham-Manuel tries; Jayden Falcon con)
Northland: 38 (Ilai Arona, Keanu Cook Savage, Mason Hohaia, Nasinu Kuli, Jackson Sparksman-Brott, Mikaere Wiki; Nikau Graham 4 con) Heartland: 35 (Bryan Arnold, Kafa Katoa, Te Huia Kutia, Xavier Pereka, Desmond Tyrell tries; Joel Hands 5 con)
Otago: 27 (Levi Emery, Josh Hill, Layne Opetaia, Sepa Vaka tries; Kody Edwards 2 con, pen) Counties Manukau: 25 (Heremaia Murray, Jesse Pascoe, Salesitangi Savelio; Tala Potifara 2 con, 2 pen)
Waikato: 59 (Samipeni Finau 2, Jack McConnell 2, Siave Seti 2, Wesley Tapueluleu 2, Kaea Hongara tries; Logan Karl 6 con, Rhys Dickinson con) Southland: 0
11:00am: Manawatu v Heartland – 15 v 16
11:00am: Hawke’s Bay v Taranaki – 7 v 8
12:00pm: Counties v Southland – 11 v 12
12:45pm: Tasman v Auckland – 5 v 6
12:45pm: Auckland Development v Northland – 13 v 14
1:40pm: North Harbour v Wellington - 3 v 4
3:20pm: Otago v Waikato – Michael Jones Trophy Final
5:00pm Bay of Plenty v Canterbury – Graham Mourie Cup Final