Whangarei

Takahiwai Warriors will play Otangarei in the semifinals of the RLN Premiership after leapfrogging them on the league table.

After leading the table for a few weeks with a couple of close wins on the trot, Otangarei Knights slipped to second spot on Saturday after losing to Moerewa Tigers.

Takahiwai beat Horahora 36-11 at home last weekend.

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The result means Takahiwai will play Otangarei while Moerewa will face Portland Panthers in the semis this weekend.

Regardless of Saturday's results, Takahiwai were billed to face Otangarei in the semis.

It will be a rematch between the two sides.

Last month, Takahiwai crushed Otangarei 36-12 at home and will be looking at making it two in a row this weekend.

Takahiwai mentor Joel Freeman said it was a good win against Horahora last weekend considering that four starting players did not play because of injuries and illness.

The focus, he said, was around a tight defence around the ruck and midfield areas where his side had been exposed in previous matches.

Second rower Charlie Tarau was one of the try scorers and had a sold game, both in attack and defence, while centre Ross McFarlane was another outstanding player.

Freeman said captain Ed Wilson led from the front and marshalled his players well.

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As the most consistent team over the season, Freeman said his side was glad to finish in the top two and to qualify for the semis.

"We have the playing talent to push through to the final and have the strongest team on paper for this weekend's semis as our injured players are expected to be back."

Moerewa are the defending RLN Premier champions.

The final will be played on August 4.