Norths and Tawa carry on winning way
Big wins on Saturday have Northern United and Tawa well positioned in Swindale Shield rugby and hungry for more success.
North’s resurgence, and their push for Jubilee Cup promotion after a trying 2016, continued with a clinical 38-0 dismantling of Avalon.
The six-try bonus-point win was enough to put the blue and whites into third-place in the Shield after their leap-frogging Wainui who were bettered 29-25 by Ories.
Old Boys University, the defending champions, remain top of the table.
The students earned a sixth straight win when heading Marist St Pats 28-20. This leaves them two points clear of the also unbeaten Ories who continue to rue their only stumble, the round four draw against Petone.
Meanwhile Tawa moved into the vital top eight for a first time with a well-earned 47-24 home win over Petone.
Both Norths and Tawa would have been looking for more of the same on Anzac Day against unfancied opposition.
On Wellington Rugby’s ‘‘Derby Day’’ Tawa were away to a 12th placed Johnsonville while Norths were at home against a winless Paremata-Plimmerton.
On the Fraser Park astro on Saturday, Norths came up with differing 19-0 halves to confirm their improved form midway through the 13-game shield.
Mike Ioapo, Antony Fox and Parekura Lalaga were an irrepressible loose forward trio.
They dominated their opponents the more the game went on and, between them, gathered four of their side’s tries.
The big Ioapo scored the first two to set his side away. His trademark hard running was a constant challenge and a key factor in the wearing down of the opposition eight.
When Avalon conceding a penalty try near half-time for deliberately collapsing a scrum the game was, in reality, all over but it was the livewire Fox who delivered the all-important bonus point soon after the second half got away. He was influential all game and was deserving of man of the matvh accolades.
The consistent Chris Middleton was strong and a key component in a Norths’ eighth that had too many guns for a brave but still winless Avalon who, because of the energy sapping attrition, increasingly struggled to keep up with the pace of the game.
Spectators at Lyndhurst Park were treated to a try-filled 80 minutes with Tawa’s third win in a row a bonus point affair.
Seven Tawa players grabbed a try each in a free-flowing performance in a game, which with Tawa leading 26-19 at halftime was in the balance until Tawa conjured up three late tries.
Hemi Fermanis had a imposing all-round game at lock for Tawa while Pepesana Patafilo played with ambition in the midfield.
Norths and Tawa, along with the other 12 teams in what is already proving a high quality Swindale Shield, will play a third game in eight days on April 29.
With their meeting Avalon, even at Fraser Park, Tawa look to have been favoured with the ‘‘luck of the draw’’ in a testing time for all teams.
Norths will appreciate being on their home Jerry Collins Stadium for what shapes up as a very important encounter and possible season defining encounter against Wainui.
Poneke flanker Greg Foe is caught by a Wellington defender in Swindale Shield rugby.