The Alan McEvoy Memorial Trophy for round-robin supremacy was already University's for the first time since 1999, but the students confirmed their favouritism heading into the Gallaher Shield playoffs with a solid 34-20 win over Ponsonby at Western Springs Stadium.
Varsity raced to a 20-0 after just 25 minutes thanks to some high energy play and swift ball. Fielding three opensides in Matt Matich, Sean Polwart and Nepia Fox-Matamua, Varsity commanded the loose ball and denied the talented Ponies midfield duo of William Talataina-Mu and Vince Aso quality possession. Lock Tom Robinson was effective aerially and around the field while first five Brenton Helleur, after a couple of early errors, showed his class, getting his outsides moving and setting up both tries to wing Lachlan Cooper.
Centre Teimana Mohi finished a sweetly-taken team try as Varsity monopolised the ball, despite not having the wing advantage.
Ponies lock and player of the day Leo Ngahe shook his teammates from their slumber with a 25m solo try from broken play and when No 6 Waha Waitohi crashed over, the home side had reduced the deficit to 10 and then seven. The last word went to University fullback Simon Healy, who latched onto the end of good soccer skills by wing Ben Paltridge.
Ponsonby wore pink socks for breast cancer awareness and also in tribute to breast cancer sufferer Maryanne Pasina, wife of former Ponies lock Sefo Pasina.
Manukau Rovers have cracked the top eight for the first time in several years, crushing Waitakere City 85-0. This is something of a triumph for coaches Tony Barchard and Frank Bunce and they will have nothing to lose when they face Varsity on Saturday.
Suburbs finished with a 71-13 flourish over Maungarua, prop Conrad Lam leading the way with a hat-trick, but ninth was the best they could muster, overtaking Marist, whose disappointing Alan McEvoy campaign ended with a 31-26 defeat to College Rifles.
Grammar TEC helped blow out 100 candles on the Grammar Old Boys club cake with a 42-7 victory over Waitemata which confirmed them in second position, while the westerners will have to be content with sixth on the log. Pakuranga moved up to third with a 56-3 shutout of East Tamaki, moving the 2013 Gallaher Shield champions up to third. Eden beat Otahuhu 19-14, but it was not enough to overtake the south Aucklanders.
University 34 Ponsonby 20
Grammar TEC 42 Waitemata 7
Pakuranga 56 East Tamaki 3
Suburbs 71 Maungarua 13
Eden 19 Otahuhu 14
College Rifles 31 Marist 26
Manukau 85 Waitakere City 0
Massey, with a hard fought 25-20 win against Silverdale on Saturday, appear to have guaranteed themselves as the top qualifiers and with home advantage for the North Harbour premiership rugby semi-finals on July 19.
Massey, with just one match in the second round remaining, lead North Shore by just one point, but their match next weekend will be at home against one of the bottom sides, East Coast Bays.
Shore, who also battled on Saturday for a 16-12 win over Western Pioneers, look almost certain to be the second qualifiers, though they have a tougher assignment next weekend against Silverdale.
But regardless of what the result of this match is, Silverdale can finish no higher than fourth, thus probably ensuring themselves of a re-match in the semi-finals against Massey.
Silverdale, with Blues wider squad member Jordan Manihera leading their pack, tried to take Massey on up front to nullify their dangerous backs and almost succeeded with a constant barrage on the Shore line in search of the winning try in the final minutes.
Shore owed their narrow win over Western to an interception by three-quarter Sam Barton and a 70m run for the deciding try late in the match.
In bottom four matches Northcote surprised with a 31-22 win over Takapuna and Bays beat the eighth side Glenfield 22-22.
North Shore 16 Western Pioneers 12
Northcote 31 Takapuna 22
Massey 25 Silverdale 20
East Coast Bays 24 Glenfield 22
Otorohanga now head the points table after a 27-6 drubbing of previous leaders University. The visiting side dominated the forward's contest and from that platform ran away with the game at Waikato University.
Hamilton Old Boys used their backline well to record a 27-10 four-try bonus point win over Fraser Tech at Mill St. Left wing Josh Tafili scored a hatrick of tries for Old Boys who retain third spot in the competition. Fourth ranked Hamilton Marist had to work hard to head Te Awamutu Sports 31-11 at Albert Park.
In the other matches, Melville hosted Hautapu at Collins Rd, winning 34-25, while at St Andrews Park Morrinsville Sports were overwhelming 76-0 winners against home side Te Rapa.
Otorohanga 27 University 6
Hamilton Old Boys 27 Fraser Tech 10
Hamilton Marist 31 Te Awamutu Sports 11
Melville 34 Hautapu 25
Morrinsville Sports 76 Te Rapa 0
Unbeaten all season, Te Aroha College Old Boys continued their winning form, this week thrashing nearest challengers Hauraki North by 50-7 at the Waitakaruru Domain in the final round of pool play. The Cobras scored seven tries in their win.
In the other Premier games, Waihou beat the visiting Waihi side 20-13, and at Thames the host club had a good 27-5 win over Mercury Bay.
Te Aroha COBRAS 50 Hauraki North 7
Waihou 20 Waihi 13
Thames 27 Mercury Bay 5
Wellsford 35 Kamo 12
Otamatea 34 Old Boys-Marist 32
Mid Northern 34 Waipu 22
Hora Hora 54 Hikurangi 17
Mid-Western 45 Western Sharks 12
Patumahoe 14 Waiuku 7
Karaka 40 Bombay 10
Pukekohe 19 Onewhero 0
Ardmore-Marist 37 Manurewa 10
Bay of Plenty
Whakarewarewa 50 Rangiuru 5
Tauranga Sports 35 Opotiki 0
Te Puke Sports 68 Rotoiti 7
Greerton Marist 30 Te Puna 22
Mount Maunganui 39 Rangataua 10
Pirates 48 Horouta 19
OBM 17 YMP 14
Ngatapa 42 Wairoa Athletic 20
MAC 18 Tamatea 14
Taradale 48 Clive 12
Napier Old Boys Marist 43 Napier Technical 26
Havelock North 32 Hastings Rugby and Sports 11
Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports 32 Central 15
Tukapa 20 Spotswood United 18
Clifton 26 Coastal 18
NPOB 31 Inglewood 25
Southern 14 Stratford 8
Taihape 55 Marist 7
Ruapehu 11 Pirates 10
Ratana 10 Kaierau 8
Border 15 Marton 3
College Old Boys 43 Old Boys-Marist 7
Varsity 33 Linton Army 20
Feilding Old Boys-Oroua 24 Te Kawau 14
Feilding 30 Freyberg 12
Eketahuna 7 Pioneer 7
East Coast 20 Marist 12
Greytown 16 Gladstone 13
Martinborough 30 Carterton 8
Paraparaumu 33 Waikanae 12
Shannon 41 Levin College Old Boys 19
Levin Athletic 27 Levin Wanderers 15
Hutt Old Boys-Marist 32 Oriental Rongotai 17
Petone 27 Wainuiomata 25
Upper Hutt Rams 34 Old Boys-University 30
Tawa 20 Marist-St Pat's 19
Waimea 13 Waitohi 7
Nelson 47 Moutere 31
Central 91 Stoke 0
Awatere 30 Renwick 29
Marist 40 Harlequins 19
Kahurangi 24 Wanderers 17
Marist 29 Blaketown 24
South Westland 20 Kiwi 20
Marist Albion 18 Lincoln University 11
New Brighton 31 HSOB 29
Sydenham 21 Christchurch 12
University 18 Shirley 12
Burnside 40 Belfast 10
Linwood 32 Sumner 3
Lincoln 40 Darfield 23
Southbridge 33 Burnham/Dunsandel/Irwin 31
Prebbleton 50 West Melton 7
Ashley 13 Kaiapoi 11
Glenmark 17 Oxford 16
Saracens 14 Ohoka 12
Celtic 84 Old Boys 14
Mackenzie 25 Temuka 21
Waimate 36 Pleasant Point 33
Harlequins 36 Geraldine 17
Old Boys 53 Athletic Marist 10
Excelsior 25 Valley 22
Kurow 28 Maheno 14
Dunedin 10 Harbour 5
Taieri 72 Pirates 5
University A 26 Alhambra-Union 10
Southern 24 Kaikorai 3
Zingari-Richmond 59 Green Island 10
Star 33 Pirates-Old Boys 27
Marist 13 Eastern-Northern Barbarians 10
Woodlands 42 Midlands 30
Blues 33 Bluff 7