New Plymouth Old Boys’ Brayton Northcott-Hill is taken down by Clifton’s Matty James
The semifinalists in the CMK premier club rugby competition have been found, but who will play whom won’t be decided until after next weekend’s final round.
Clifton, Tukapa, New Plymouth Old Boys (NPOB) and Stratford/Eltham make up the top four after the penultimate round on Saturday.
Clifton have confirmed semifinal hosting rights, with a five-point lead over Tukapa, after a 37-25 win against NPOB at Vogeltown Park. Tukapa are likely to host the second semi, as they hold a five-point advantage over NPOB.
Stratford/Eltham’s convincing 60-10 win against Spotswood United cemented themselves a playoff spot. The win knocks out any hopes defending champions Inglewood had to earn a play-off spot, coupled with their 37-24 loss to Tukapa at home.
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Despite NPOB losing, they retain third place with the same win-loss record as Stratford/Eltham.
Clifton continues to be the front runners. They are the only unbeaten team in the second round.
The match was especially poignant for Indiha Soatui-Huta. His grandfather, Fale Saotui, who won the New Zealand team title in bowls, died earlier in the year.
NPOB honored Saotui prior to the match in recognition of his lengthy service to the club. Soatui-Huta provided the ultimate tribute with two tries in a classy performance.
Despite their winning form, Clifton will be aware of their discipline after international referee Paul Williams sin binned Jared Proffit and Fatiauma Moeahu-Leota in either half.
Tukapa’s Jayson Potroz will be pleased with his performance after his first start in eight months after injury.
The first-five eighth played 50 minutes and scored one of Tukapa’s six tries at TET Stadium.
Stratford/Eltham were able to run the ball freely against Spotswood United at Victoria Park.
The home team ran in nine tries to two.
The win is the largest score in the competition this year.
In a dead rubber match, Coastal beat Southern 31-0 at the Rahotu Domain. The home team lead 19-0 at halftime.
Points after six weeks are; Clifton 30, Tukapa 25, NPOB 20, Stratford/Eltham 19, Coastal 11, Inglewood 10, Southern 8, Spotswood United 1.
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