- By Adam Julian and Steven White
Top qualifier Scots College and defending champions St Pat’s Silverstream will meet in next weekend’s Wellington Premier First XV final after semi-finals wins this afternoon.
Scots College beat St Pat’s Town 22-8 at home and St Pat’s Silverstream beat Rongotai College 41-10.
Accounts of the two semi-finals follow:
Scots College (22) v St Pat’s Town (8)
Scots College will play in their first Premiership final since 2015, rallying from an early deficit to beat St Pat’s Town in a reversal of last year’s semi-final result.
The visitors started strongly, with centre Boston Christie kicking a 40-metre penalty and wingSage Aukisitino breaking from halfway after a scrum set move and scoring a spectacular try in the corner.
Town were aggressive at the breakdown and were able to win early turnovers, forcing Scots to play inside their own territory.
The game turned when impressive Scots flanker Issac Sailo busted down the wing and set up a try for wingEric Lawson, to close the gap to 8-5.
Midway through the first half Town halfback Setafano Paese was yellow carded contentiously by referee Jordan Price. Scots hooker Sase Va’a tapped the ball and ran into Paese, who was off side and was sin-binned for a ‘retaliation’
While Paese was off, Scots scored two tries. First five-eighth Oryanan Kalolo kicked wide for the right wing where replacement outside back Ayden Hammond scored to put Scots ahead 12-8.
Lawson scored again a short time later and Scots were up 19-8 at halftime.
The second half was a tight affair as the weather worsened. St Pat’s Town’s lineout imploded and Kalolo was impressive with his general kicking. Five minutes before time the general kick a penalty to make it 22.8.
For Town captain Ronaldo Seumanufagai led from at No.8 and prop Noah Tuifao-Galuvao is a moble and physical presence.
Scots locks Domenic Ropeti and Maea Tema-Schmidt were towering figures.
St Pat’s Silverstream (41) v Rongotai College (10)
Lightning struck twice today at Rongotai College. Once just before fulltime as the predicted storm arrived and the heavens opened and once on the field starting about 45 minutes earlier when St Pat’s Silverstream took control of their semi-final.
The opening 25 minutes was a relatively even affair as both teams tested each other out and both back divisions put boot to ball and indulged in a prolonged game of force back.
Silverstream second five-eighth Rocco Berry missed a penalty chance to post first points, before helping assist in the opening try soon after after his team being awarded another penalty and launching a concerted period of attack by the forwards and then the backs, who swung play back across the posts and Berry, halfback Rory Wollettt and flyhalf Riley Higgins combined to score.
With 5 minutes to play before halftime, Silverstream lost their left wing to the sin-bin for taking a Rongotai player out mid-air as he leapt to take a high kick. This proved to be a catalyst for a burst of scoring – for both teams.
First, Rongotai kicked for the corner from the ensuing penalty and a couple of plays later came up with a try to first five-eighth Dylan Jackson in the unmarked far corner, thus making it 5-5.
Second, Silverstream hit back by scoring a perfectly executed try off an attacking scrum on the 22 as their undermanned backs audaciously ripped the ball wide to the left wing side of the field and Berry supported fullback centre Tony Solomona and fullback Vulu to score to make it 10-5.
Third, Silverstream scored a third try right on halftime to go up 15-5 at the break when Rongotai got the fumbles at the back of a scrum and Silverstream hacked ahead, regathered and scored 60 metres down field in the same corner.
The Silverstream forwards took control of the second half, starting from the opening exchanges with Wollett knocking the ball over the line after 2 minutes of heated attack. Silverstream kept the pressure on from a subsequent lineout steal on the 22 and a burst up towards the chalk by Berry. The ball was recycled and the son of an All Black Berry was directly involved once more in again in passing off his shoulder to his outside player who scored to make it 22-5.
It was game over a few minutes later when Silverstream won a penalty from a scrum, kicked for the corner and No. 8 Peter Lakai scored from the resulting drive at the line. Wollett added the extras to put the visitors ahead 29-5. This was followed by a sixth try to make it 34-5.
Rongotai threw the ball around over the final 10 minutes, but lost their centre to a red card for an off the ball incident. Silverstream ran in their seventh try, before Rongotai scored a second, consolation, try on fulltime to Tana Tusa.
Meanwhile in the playoff for 5th and 6th, Wellington College and Wairarapa College drew 19-19. Wellington College finish fifth owing to their superior position on the points table to Wairarapa College.
In the Premier 2 semi-finals, Porirua College beat the St Pat’s Town Second XV 21-13 and Tawa College and St Pat’s Silverstream drew 7-7 in the other, with Porirua and Tawa progressing to next week’s final.
In club rugby, the Poneke Ruffnuts will meet the Upper Hutt Rams Pirates Division 1 Reserve Grade John Davies Cup competition.
The Poneke Ruffnuts beat the Petone Brotherhood 27-17 in one semi-final today, while the Upper Hutt Rams Pirates beat the top qualifiers, the Johnsonville Cripples 22-17.
The Division 2 competition still has a week to run before the semi-finals, where the OBU Pink Ginners beat the OBU 69ers 31-5 in the OBU club’s Ruru Shield match. In other results, the Paremata-Plimmerton Punters beat the Upper Hutt Thirsty Rams 8-0 and the MSP Internationals took down the OBU Teddy Bears 24-10. The Wests Mixed Veges met the OBU Rightous Brothers in the other match (result TBC) and leaders the Upper Hutt Ras J8s had the bye.
In representative rugby, there were three matches in Wellington today.
At the Hutt Recreation Ground, the Wellington Development team opened their season with a 29-21 win over the Wairarapa-Bush Heartland side.
At Porirua Park the Wellington Maori and Samoan sides warmed up for their seasons with the Maori prevailing 31-19 in a game played over three sets of 30 minutes. The Maori took an early 14-0 lead before the Samoan side hit back with three tries to take the lead, though the Maori closed it out with three more of their own. The game itself was fairly representative of a first hit-out with a number of errors as both looked to get combinations clicking, but there was plenty of enterprise as well.
The Maori got more than useful contributions from Dylan Williamson, Pakai Turia, Jayden McCarthy and the halfback trio of Declan Hay, Jimmy-Lee Hongara, and Sheridan Rangihuna, with the latter back in town after his Japanese club were knocked out of their playoffs recently. The Samoan’s go big 90 minute efforts from Faresa Tasele, Mellenniumma Leota, and Jimmy Hewitt.
The early match saw the Centurions Development and the Wellington U19s play a 70-minute match with the Centurions taking a 32-26 win with both teams also rattling through their full squads.
The Wellington Lions were tipped over 45-8 by the Tasman Mako in Blenheim in their opening men’s NPC fixture of the year.
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A couple of key tries today to St Pat's Silverstream in their #premiership semi-final win over Rongotai College. Second v8 Rocco Berry heavily involved as they advanced the score from 5-5 to 22-5 either side of halftime, with their left wing in the bin. They won 41-10. Silverstream to meet Scots College in the final, who beat St Pat's Town 22-8 in the other semi-final. Story on our #website #linkinbio