Paku­ranga down de­fend­ing champs in semi

Central Leader - - SPORT -

De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Gram­mar Carl­ton lost out to Paku­ranga in the semi-fi­nal for rugby’s Gal­la­her Shield in a tense 21-16 bat­tle at Bell Park on Satur­day.

The win for Paku­ranga has seen them ad­vance to their first Gal­la­her Shield fi­nal.

The home side

dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion and ter­ri­tory for long spells but found them­selves hav­ing to de­fend their line in the fi­nal min­utes to hold on to the win.

With a raft of rep­re­sen­ta­tive play­ers in both teams there were im­pres­sive per­for­mances across the park. Front rower Tom McCart­ney was par­tic­u­larly in­spi­ra­tional for Paku­ranga while Dave Thomas and Bryce Heem com­bined to make a danger­ous mid­field pair for Gram­mar Carl­ton.

Gram­mar Carl­ton coach Richie Har­ris con­cedes his team didn’t have enough field po­si­tion to get points.

‘‘We came up just short,’’ Har­ris says.

‘‘We played a lot of football and Paku­ranga tired at the end but we ran out of time.

Eden were at the wrong end of a close game to Otahuhu in the semi-fi­nal for the Por­tola Tro­phy, go­ing down 19-15.

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