St Pat’s test Norths in punishing match
Northern United remain unbeaten for the season but survived a stern test from Marist St Pat’s as the Jubilee Cup round of club rugby got under way on Saturday.
Forwards Aiden Cains and John Fata both spent time in the sin bin but MSP, despite controlling much of the play, could not turn their numerical advantage into points.
The 13-8 scoreline in Norths’ favour at Porirua Park was indicative of the wet conditions, making the home side’s usual expansive play difficult.
MSP crossed for a try early in the first half and played the better rugby, getting more numbers to the breakdown.
They deserved their 8-6 halftime lead, Norths staying within touching distance, thanks to the boot of James So’oialo.
Where the home side got parity was in the scrums, with Hurricanes prop Jacob Ellison at the head of a monster effort, MSP’s pack pushed off the ball time and again.
It took until the final quarter for Norths to win it, a mistake by MSP centre Apoua Stewart in clearing a kick from his own line seized upon by Norths – Ellison capped a huge game by scoring the match-winning try.
Tawa, meanwhile, lost its first game in the Hardham Cup, 32-3 to Avalon, whom they had beaten the week earlier. It was a clash of two teams who had dropped down from the Swindale Shield, but it was a one-sided affair at Fraser Park.
This weekend, Norths host Hutt Old Boys-Marist at Porirua Park, and Tawa play Old Boys-University at Lyndhurst Park. Both games kick off at 2.15pm due to the Hurricanes match at Westpac Stadium later that evening.