Tawa, Norths go on to cup semis
Both Tawa and Northern United are into the Hardham and Jubilee Cup club rugby semifinals, respectively, after wins on Saturday.
In heavy rain and biting wind at Kilbirnie Park, Norths recorded an impressive 19-13 win over Poneke, who they will meet again, on the same ground, in this Saturday’s semifinal.
The Porirua side registered three tries and then relied on solid defence for the win, with prop Steve Fa’atau, winger A J Va’alepu and replacement fullback Peato Lafaele crossing to score.
Their 19-3 lead was unassailable in this weather, although the home side came back strongly, with two tries of their own in the second half.
One Poneke player was held up over the line, and the efforts of hooker Aiden Cains, lock Eldon Paea and the returning Serge Lilo contributed to a monster effort by Norths to hold on for the victory.
Coach Frank Rees says while the Jubilee Cup round has seen them stumble, they have achieved their goal of a spot in the semifinals.
‘‘There’s been a real changing of the guard here. Only two players that won the Jubilee Cup in 2008 [a drawn final with MSP] were out there. That’s huge, it shows the depth we have. I think if you asked each club who they don’t want to face in the semis, it’s Norths. We have the team to go all the way.’’
Tawa, meanwhile, made the most of the miserable conditions at Ian Galloway Park to beat Wests 20-0. The win not only put them second in the Hardham Cup table and able to host a semifinal, but it guaranteed Swindale Shield rugby next year.
Randall Bishop kicked two penalties to give his side a 6-0 lead early on, before No 8 Milo Mekaio scored to give his team a handy 13-0 halftime lead.
Tawa lock Pati Gaualofa then dotted down and with Bishop adding the conversion, 20-0 was enough to secure a massive win. This Saturday, they host a Rimutaka side that have impressed as they pushed for premier rugby and will be no easybeats.
Norths’ B team, after an excellent season, will take on Old Boys-University in the other Hardham semifinal.