Vik­ings come back to beat Dragons


Two clin­i­cal dis­plays from the Te Aroha Eels within the space of four days ef­fec­tively ended the Univer­sity Hun­ters semi­fi­nal chances in Welling­ton pre­mier rugby league.

With a catch-up game re­quired be­tween the sides, the Eels dashed the Hun­ters top-four play­off hopes with 52-12 and 26-4 wins on Wednesday night and Satur­day af­ter­noon.

The cal­cu­la­tion was sim­ple for the Hun­ters. They needed wins in both the catchup mid­week fix­ture and the week­end round 17 match, and hope that the fourth-placed Wainuiomata Lions would go down to the un­beaten Whiti Te Ra.

Part of their wish was re­alised when the Lions suc­cumbed to the com­pe­ti­tion lead­ers at the Otaki Do­main, but the cru­cial wins proved elu­sive.

On Wednesday night at Porirua Park some qual­ity play out wide re­sulted in a hat trick of tries be­ing scored by the Te Aroha half­back Mohi Aupouri and full­back Michael Strick­land to en­sure the Eels fin­ished on top.

On Satur­day, it was a dif­fer­ent story af­ter the Eels opted to rest three key play­ers, in­clud­ing Aupouri, and then came up against a fired-up Univer­sity side who restricted them to a 14-0 half­time lead.

Te Aroha added 12 more points, while Univer­sity’s only scor­ing came when full­back Nathan Te Pa­nia went over just be­fore the fi­nal quarter as both sides con­tin­ued to spread the ball wide de­spite the blus­tery con­di­tions.

A dra­matic try with a minute re­main­ing saw the Porirua Vik­ings beat the St George Dragons 12-10 at As­cot Park af­ter trail­ing for 79 min­utes in the match.

An un­con­verted try each from the St George hooker Luke Kaan and full­back Luke Pate­le­sio gave the Dragons an 8-0 half­time lead in the gale force con­di­tions be­fore the Vik­ings prop AJ Akavi fi­nally put points on the board for the home side with a con­verted try as the fi­nal quarter ap­proached.

A St George penalty goal widened the mar­gin back out to a 10-6 lead be­fore a try to Akavi’s brother, Nooroa, from dummy half, tied the scores up with a minute re­main­ing. It was left to his cousin Tere Akavi to calmly slot his se­cond con­ver­sion of the match and to give the Vik­ings their third com­pe­ti­tion win this sea­son.

The Rand­wick King­fish­ers ran in five tries to beat the Pe­tone Pan­thers 28-12 at McEwan Park af­ter lead­ing 12-10 at half­time.

The Pan­thers got off to a fine start with two unan­swered tries be­fore fa­tigue be­gan to slow their play down, which saw the King­fish­ers swoop in on mis­takes and over­come the deficit in the se­cond quarter.

Whiti Te Ra were made to work hard by de­fend­ing their line of­ten be­fore pre­vail­ing with a 24-12 win over the Wainuiomata Lions at the Otaki Do­main af­ter lead­ing 14-6 at half­time.

The Up­per Hutt Tigers had the bye.

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