Ardmore Marist South Auckland Motors celebrated veteran lock Viliame Rarasea’s 100th game for the club by beating Pukekohe Mitre 10 Mega 26-10 to move to the top of the McNamara Cup Premiership standings with a week to go in the round robin.
A light rain swept across Bruce Pulman Park just as players took to the field and the home side failed to adapt to conditions in the first 40 minutes.
But Doug Sanft’s halftime chat did the trick as Ardmore Marist warmed to task in the second spell and produced some quality play to secure victory.
Their scrum was particularly dominant while number Luke Masirewa and loose forward Zuriel Togiatama stood out.
“We had to fight for that win,” Ardmore Marist coach Doug Sanft said. “It is a funny thing – I give it up to Puke - they had nothing to lose, and we had to play 80 minutes to win that game.
“With the errors – I did say to our boys that today was a day to express ourselves and we tried that.
“I thought our front row did alright – our scrum was dominant today.”
The win seals a home semi-final for Ardmore Marist.
Manurewa kept their home semi-final chances alive with an impressive 37-12 win over Karaka at Mountfort Park.
The game was close for the most part, but Jeremy Clark’s side pulled away in the final quarter to set up a thrilling finish to the round robin.
“We were prepared for a big one and it definitely was,” Clark said. “Karaka came hard and fast in the first 20 as the game went back and forth, end to end.
“It was 8-7 to Rewa at halftime and we had a good assessment on what we needed to put out on the field for the next 40 minutes.
“We went to work and scored some tries. We linked up well and just opened up. The bounce of the ball went our way so was happy with the performance.”
Karaka, who sit in second place, meets Ardmore Marist at Karaka Sports Complex while Manurewa travels to Patumahoe with Manurewa needing both results to go their way to get a home semi.
Both Premiership Plate contests went the way of the form side with Waiuku Land & Sea Civil prevailing over Papakura Thirsty Liquor 53-15 at Massey Park while Bombay Super Freight beat Weymouth 81-5 at Bombay.
Weymouth scored first to give themselves a boost, but they could not stay with the home side in what served as their final game of the 2021 season.
Waiuku hosts Bombay next week in a battle that will determine which club gets to host the other in the semi-finals while Onewhero Summit Homes and Papakura do battle to see which side makes it into the semi-finals.
Top side Karaka eased their way into the final of the Bob Chandler Cup Premier Reserves competition thanks to a 31-8 win over Manurewa Wise Property Management.
The win ensures they host the final at Karaka Sports Complex as well.
Bombay Pokeno Bacon advanced to that decider thanks to a 15-5 win over Patumahoe Dave Redshaw Electrical at Bombay.
Karaka and Bombay finished the round robin in first and second respectively.
Drury claimed a 19-10 win over Te Kauwhata Proclad in Te Kauwhata to grab bragging rights as the only remaining undefeated club in Sid Marshall Shield Championship action.
Te Kohanga secured themselves a semi-final berth in their return to senior rugby with a 22-13 win over Patumahoe Village Bar & Grill at Patumahoe.
The home side will need to beat Tuakau next week to earn their own semi-final spot.
Pukekohe kept alive their semi-final chances with a 24-10 win over Puni while Maramarua beat Papakura Thirsty Liquor 29-19 and Manurewa secured maximum points against Tuakau.
If Patumahoe slips up against Tuakau it opens the door for Pukekohe (v Drury), Maramarua (v Puni) and Manurewa (at Papakura), who all still have a hope of sneaking in.
Manurewa Barfoot & Thompson finished the Massey Cup U21 season in top spot thanks to a 49-12 win over Karaka at Mountfort Park.
Papakura Thirsty Liquor gained a home semi-final on the back of 22-10 win over Pukekohe on Friday night while Patumahoe CJM Construction grabbed some momentum heading into that knock-out match with a 65-0 thrashing of Waiuku.
Karaka beat neighbours Papakura Thirsty Liquor 37-10 in U85kg action to remain in top spot. Patumahoe Pak N Save Pukekohe closed behind them however with a 24-0 win over Onewhero.
Pukekohe beat Bombay 36-7.
The North Harbour Barbarians proved too strong for Patumahoe Searle Group in the Women’s 10-a-side competition, taking a 32-5 win.
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