Rugby: National first XV roundup

By Campbell Burnes

Massey halfback Miracle Naititi slotted seven conversions from eight on Friday night in the 54-5 win over Takapuna Grammar at Eden Park. Photo / Jack Hall.
Massey halfback Miracle Naititi slotted seven conversions from eight on Friday night in the 54-5 win over Takapuna Grammar at Eden Park. Photo / Jack Hall.

Massey look to have third position sewn up in the North Harbour 1A grade after a resounding 54-5 defeat of Takapuna Grammar at Eden Park last Friday night.

Leading from the front was No 6 and skipper Christian Lio-Willie, who picked up the player of the day award for his superb solo try from more than 50m, work-rate and generally powerful ball carrying.

With more size all across the field, Massey made Takapuna Grammar pay on several occasions, but the latter competed gamely at times and showed some real skill, such as when fullback Jasper Edgar scored their sole five-pointer, a tremendous team try.

Massey second five Mac Pisi, the youngest of the famous clan, opened the scoring with a nice step after a tighthead. Massey ran in eight tries in all, several of them long range team efforts.

A feature of the match was seven conversions from eight by diminutive halfback Miracle Naititi.

Takapuna Grammar hung tough, conceding no points in the final 15 minutes, though the TMO was called upon no less than three times to rule on possible Massey tries.

Rosmini cut loose on Friday afternoon to dispatch fifth-placed Rangitoto 58-0, while leaders Westlake BHS defeated Whangarei BHS 22-6 up north. The latter holds fourth spot by one point. Orewa had to rely on a late try to replacement wing Thomas Taula to edge Birkenhead 20-14.

Though the competition now breaks until July 30, three deferred games will be played on July 23: Birkenhead v Rangitoto, Rosmini v Massey and Whangarei v Takapuna Grammar.

*In the Auckland 1A, St Peter's stayed in the forefront of semifinal calculations with a hard-earned 19-13 victory at Mountain Road rivals Auckland Grammar. This was just the 13th victory in 60 games for St Peter's in this time-honoured clash and they entered shouldering the unfamiliar favourites' tag.

The clash was not quite of the same extraordinary quality of the famous 2014 semifinal clash - won by Auckland Grammar with a last minute Wiseguy Faiane dropped goal - but it was just as bruising in the collisions and even more niggly.

The industrious Auckland Grammar No 6 and captain Sione Havili led the way for his forwards, and the home side enjoyed 63 percent of the first half possession. But they ceded the lead when St Peter's loosehead prop Zyon Holo crashed over after helping set up his own try. However, Auckland Grammar regained the lead when Havili powered over the line off the back of the scrum.

St Peter's No 14 Danyael Sinisa and Havili were both yellow carded, harshly, by referee Richard Loten via the TMO, the former for a dangerous tackle and the latter for retaliation, even though he did not even throw a punch.

Thereafter the unerring boot of player of the day Harry Plummer, as he has done on several occasions in 2016, was decisive. The No 10 finished with 14 points and five from six off the tee.

Elsewhere, MAGS marched on to 9-0 record after a comfortable 34-11 win at second-placed Sacred Heart. Flanker Isaiah Papali'i was in superb touch for MAGS, while his Sacred Heart counterpart Jack McHugh was also into everything.

King's won an important 36-5 result against Aorere, while St Kentigern remain in the semifinals' hunt after a 38-14 defeat of Kelston BHS. De La Salle's 55-0 hiding of Onehunga gives them an outside show of reaching the top four.

*It was a winning weekend for Counties Manukau schools in the new Counties Manukau/Waikato premier competition. Manurewa blanked Matamata 69-0, while Pukekohe (44-15 over Te Awamutu) and Rosehill (28-26 over Cambridge) all enjoyed victories. Wesley edged Lindisfarne 12-3 in the Central North Island championship.

*Hastings BHS continues to set a hot pace in the Super 8 competition, their 32-3 win over New Plymouth BHS their 13th on the bounce this season and fifth consecutive Super 8 positive result. Already there is a talk of a MAGS-Hastings Top 4 showdown in September. Napier BHS upset defending Top 4 champions Rotorua BHS 24-23, while perennial Super 8 champions Hamilton BHS, fighting hard to reach the August 13 final, beat Tauranga BC 26-15 at home to secure The Boot trophy, which has been in their cabinet since 2010.

Hooker Tahu Hollis scored two tries, both off lineout moves, and that was enough for him to clinch the player of the day honours. Hamilton BHS enjoyed much of the early ball and running, but could not fully shake Tauranga BC, who scored a fine team try to fullback Cole Forbes which drew them back to 10-12 at the break. Hamilton, however, struck a decisive blow via centre Quinn Tupaea, who stepped well to go between the uprights after Tauranga ran out of numbers.

Tauranga No 10 Jake Malbon scored a superb team try to pull the margin back to 11, but the home side muscled up on defence for the win.

*In the UC Championship among the Crusaders' unions, Nelson College needed a late penalty goal to Willy Havili to hold the Moascar Cup with a narrow 27-25 result over St Thomas' College. The visitors scored four tries to two, but Havili's 22 points were crucial to the holders. Nelson is in the top four, but the runaway leaders are Christ's and Christchurch BHS.

*The 55 players chosen for this week's Blues Under 18 camp feature several stars out of the Auckland and North Harbour 1A competitions. The Blues U18s will face their Chiefs counterparts in a match on Sunday in Takapuna.

The full list is:
Penisoni Fineanganofo (Aorere)
Sione Havili (Auckland Grammar)
Finn Perkinson (Auckland Grammar)
Kaynan Siteine-Tua (Auckland Grammar)
Kafu Misiuata (De La Salle)
Caleb Fa'alili (De La Salle)
Lalomilo Lalomilo (De La Salle)
Simon-Peter Toleafoa (De La Salle)
Sione Livai (Kelston BHS)
Sebastian Visinia (Kelston BHS)
Brady Rush (Kerikeri)
Ciarahn Matoe (King's)
Ajay Mua (King's)
Junior Ratuva (King's)
Jamie Spowart (King's)
Godinet Tinei (Liston)
Anzelo Tuitavuki (Liston)
Paula Folau (Macleans)
Christian Lio-Willie (Massey)
Mac Pisi (Massey)
Nathan Va'atausili (Massey)
Caleb Clarke (Mt Albert Grammar)
Rob Cobb (Mt Albert Grammar)
Niven Longopoa (Mt Albert Grammar)
Michael Palmer (Mt Albert Grammar)
Waimana Reidlinger-Kapa (Mt Albert Grammar)
Paul Roache (Mt Albert Grammar)
Salyn Tonu'u (Mt Albert Grammar)
John Cooper (Okaihau)
Spencer Fruean (Otahuhu)
Zak Martin (Rangitoto)
Matiu Spooner (Rangitoto)
Vincent Tuitupou (Rosmini)
Joseph Casey (Sacred Heart)
Jack McHugh (Sacred Heart)
Lemeki Namoa (Sacred Heart)
Hoskins Sotutu (Sacred Heart)
George Witana (Sacred Heart)
Tevita Mafileo (St Kentigern)
Tanielu Tele'a (St Kentigern)
Sam Toloke (St Kentigern)
Aleks Dabek (St Peter's)
AJ Lam (St Peter's)
Harry Plummer (St Peter's)
Cameron Suafoa (St Peter's)
Rilloy Suesue (St Peter's)
Roni Wright (Tamaki)
Paora Allen (Te Kura Hourua o Whangarei)
Finlay Brewis (Westlake BHS)
Jack Heighton (Westlake BHS)
Fine Inisi (Westlake BHS)
Lotu Inisi (Westlake BHS)
Leon Thambiran (Westlake BHS)
Scott Gregory (Whangarei BHS)

NB. Several players were unavailable for selection due to injury, among them Sacred Heart props Fatongia Paea and Damon Abraham, and classy King's centre Bailyn Sullivan.

North Harbour 1A:
Orewa 20 Birkenhead 14
Westlake BHS 22 Whangarei BHS 6
Rosmini 58 Rangitoto 0
Massey 54 (Nikau Drage 2, Mac Pisi, Samuel Samu, Dave Puleiala, Christian Lio-Willie, Nathan Va'atausili, Jamie Casciaro tries; Miracle Naititi 7 con) Takapuna Grammar 5 (Jasper Edgar try) HT: 26-5

Auckland 1A:
King's 36 Aorere 5
MAGS 34 Sacred Heart 11
De La Salle 55 Onehunga 0
St Kentigern 38 Kelston BHS 14
St Peter's 19 (Zyon Holo try; Harry Plummer con, 4 pen) Auckland Grammar 13 (Sione Havili try; Corey Evans con, 2 pen) HT: 10-6

Auckland 1B Championship:
Tangaroa 19 Mangere 13
Tamaki 29 One Tree Hill 8
Liston 24 Macleans 22

Counties Manukau/Waikato premier:
Rosehill 28 Cambridge 26
Manurewa 69 Matamata 0
Pukekohe 44 Te Awamutu 15

Super 8:
Napier BHS 24 Rotorua BHS 23
Hastings BHS 32 New Plymouth BHS 3
Hamilton BHS 26 (Tahu Hollis 2, Austin Pepperell, Quinn Tupaea tries; Rameka Poihipi 3 con) Tauranga BC 15 (Cole Forbes, Jake Malbon tries; Forbes con, pen) HT: 12-10

Central North Island:
Wesley 12 Lindisfarne 3
St Paul's Collegiate 36 Sir Francis Douglas Memorial 14
Feilding beat St John's by default

Wellington premier:
Wellington 88 St Bernard's 0
Wairarapa 19 Bishop Viard 15
Scots 27 Rongotai 16

UC Championship:
St Andrew's 21 Burnside 12
Nelson 27 St Thomas' 25 (Moascar Cup)
Timaru BHS 19 Rangiora 7
Marlborough BC 48 Ashburton 20
Waimea Combined 19 Lincoln 12
Christchurch BHS 73 Roncalli 0
Shirley BHS 24 St Bede's 15

Otago:
South Otago First XV 29 Otago BHS Second XV 15
Waitaki BHS 64 King's 32
John McGlashan 89 Dunstan 5
Kavanagh 28 Mt Aspiring 5
Taieri 51 South Otago Second XV 12

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