National club rugby results from Saturday 31 May.
Tusitala in the Samoan language means 'Teller of Tales' and Ponsonby replacement Danny Tusitala will be able to tell his grandchildren of the day he kicked the winning conversion for his club to toast its 140th jubilee in style.
The 26-24 win over defending champion Pakuranga, unbeaten for 12 months in the Auckland competition, saw Ponies grasp the lead for the first time in the 77th minute of a gnarly old clash, one of the best club matches of the season.
The omens were not auspicious for the visitors Pakuranga when Tom McCartney's hip issue meant he could not get through the warm-up, but his pack seemed untroubled, pouring pressure on the Ponies' scrum while first five Gareth Arlidge dictated with his tactical boot. Ponsonby carried well but could not press home its progress, and then Pakuranga wing Aula Silipa struck a hammer blow, scoring after an intercept by his centre Hayden de Villiers. Pakuranga led 13-3 at the break, but the game was tighter than that scoreline.
Ponsonby hit back in the second spell through prop Sione Mau who found space after a jinky run by wing Pryor Collier. Pakuranga, stung to the quick, replied in kind when fullback Nick Smith, who otherwise had an unhappy game, scored out wide after what looked to be a knock-on by Arlidge. The latter missed a pot late in the piece, but then Ponsonby fullback Tevita Hufanga sprung into action, scoring off a scorching 45m run as no defender could lower him. The scores were tied. Up stepped Tusitala, who had replaced the previously flawless Brett Williams, and he did the rest.
The victory by Ponies leaves both clubs level third on 38 competition points, but with Ponsonby ahead on points differential.
Ponsonby director of rugby Bryan 'Beegee' Williams was presented with a special birthday cake for the club by the visiting England captain Chris Robshaw during the halftime interval.
Elsewhere, University had to work hard to retain the Dave Grace Memorial Trophy 34-25 over Marist, while Manukau moved ahead of the Catholics by tipping over College Rifles 27-25. Kicker Karl Siemsen scored 25 points for Waitemata in the 59-3 over Waitakere City, which has a new coach and possibly new resolve. Papatoetoe continued its march with a 31-17 win over Suburbs, wing William Mateai crossing for a double. Otahuhu moved to 10th with a 31-15 victory over East Tamaki, while Grammar TEC had to scrap much harder than expected to beat Maungarua 36-5.
*Correction: Prop Jordan Lay, not Matt Matich, was the first University tryscorer in the previous round's win over College Rifles.
Ponsonby 26 Pakuranga 24
Grammar TEC 36 Maungarua 5
University 34 Marist 25
Waitemata 59 Waitakere City 3
Manukau 29 College Rifles 27
Papatoetoe 31 Suburbs 17
Otahuhu 31 East Tamaki 15
Playing for much of the match with 14 men, North Shore showed on Saturday they could be a threat in post-section play with the most compelling performance in second round opening games in the North Harbour rugby premiership.
Shore beat East Coast Bays 55-23 but only after they lost wing Nick Turley to a red card in the first spell when he interfered with a Bays player in the air while chasing a high kick. Turley, scorer of two of Shore's early tries, became the third Shore player red carded this season but was possibly unlucky as his action, while dangerous, appeared careless rather than malicious.
But with veteran inside backs Luke Hamilton and Willie Walker setting the example Shore retained control and built on a 28-9 half-time lead to add three further tries in the second spell, with three quarter Ben Stewart also grabbing a double.
Massey continued their dominance of the competition with a 36-11 bonus point win over Glenfield and now have a 12-point table lead over Shore, Western Pioneers and Silverdale. The latter two sides also won, Western 22-3 over Northcote and Silverdale in a tight contest 31-25 over Takapuna.
Those results have left Takapuna 13 points behind in fifth place, meaning that already the top four teams are virtually assured of semi-final places.
Western Pioneers 22 Northcote 3
Massey 36 Glenfield 11
North Shore 55 East Coast Bays 23
Silverdale 31 Takapuna 25
In a replay of last week's fixture, Manurewa put on a better performance than last week's 50 point thrashing at the hands of Pukekohe. Starting the game with an early try, it looked like Pukekohe was going to resume where they left it last week running out to an early 7-0 lead. But Manurewa had other ideas and put in a committed first half performance disrupting Pukekohe and taking opportunities when they were presented. In the second half, the opening exchanges remained close with Manurewa levelling the scores to 17 all before taking a narrow 22-20 lead with twenty minutes remaining. But two long range tries in the final fifteen minutes secured the bonus point victory for Pukekohe. In his first 80 minute game this season returning from injury, Pukekohe's Jared Page put on an impressive performance from wing then fullback, getting better as the game progressed.
Waiuku backed up their impressive win over Karaka last week with another tight encounter nudging top four placed Bombay 16-0. Although out scored two tries to one, Waiuku showed their usual commitment and focus, particularly in the forwards to secure the victory.
Karaka remains on top of the table where they have found themselves all season after thrashing Ardmore Marist 66-0 in a surprisingly large result. Scoring ten tries including a double to outside backs Sione Molia and Tenina Saiuleoge, Karaka bounced back from their first loss of the season last week in impressive form.
In the other result of the round Patumahoe finishes the first game of the second in third spot on the table after downing Onewhero 23-10.
Waiuku 16 Bombay 14
Patumahoe 23 Onewhero 10
Karaka 66 Ardmore-Marist 0
Pukekohe 34 Manurewa 22
Te Aroha College Old Boys had taken out the first round competition last weekend, and the top six sides to contest the next round had also been resolved, so there was not too much at stake in the final round of games.
Waihou had to work hard to get the better of their Mercury Bay hosts, but finally scraped home by 17-15. The other matches all resulted in decisive wins. The unbeaten Te Aroha College Old Boys side travelled to Thames and thrashed the locals 63-12, while Hauraki North were always in control over their Ngatea visitors, coasting home by 41-0.
At Paeroa, in the match between the two clubs that missed out on top-six berths, Wests convincingly beat Whangamata by 47-22.
Hauraki North 41 Ngatea 0
Waihou 17 Mercury Bay 15
Te Aroha COBRAS 63 Thames 12
Paeroa West 47 Whangamata 22
Last season's championship winning side Hamilton Marist made another statement about their prospects for 2014 with a solid 29-13 win over third placed Hamilton Old Boys at Fred Jones Park. It was not just that scoreline that raised eyebrows, but the manner of the win. Marist dominated most aspects opf the game and outscored the host club by five tries to one. Leading sides University and Otorohanga both won well. University thrashed bottom side Te Rapa 79-0 at Waikato University, while Otorohanga travelled to Hamilton and trounced Fraser Tech 59-6 at Mill St.
In the other matches, Hautapu had their third win of the competition, hosting Morrinsville Sports at Cambridge and winning 30-16, while Melville's No 8 and captain Jake Ale scored the winning try at Collins Rd a few minutes before the end of the match to get his side home by 23-20 over Te Awamutu Sports.
Hamilton Marist 29 Hamilton Old Boys 13
Hautapu 30 Morrinsville Sports 16
Melville 23 Te Awamutu Sports 20
University 79 Te Rapa 0
Otorohanga 59 Fraser Tech 6
Mid-Western 15 Hora Hora 12
Wellsford 28 Mid Northern 20
Kamo 27 Hikurangi 19
Otamatea 42 Western Sharks 29
Old Boys-Marist 27 Waipu 18
Bay of Plenty
Mount Maunganui 37 Tauranga Sports 3
Te Puna 31 Rangataua 20
Rotoiti 23 Rangiuru 23
Greerton-Marist 29 Whakarewarewa 28
Te Puke Sports 24 Opotiki 14
Taupo Sports 45 Kio Kio United 10
Waitete 161 Tongariro 5
Taumarunui R & S 66 Bush United 0
Pio Pio 28 Taumarunui Districts 0
Napier Old Boys Marist 46 Central 21
Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports 26 Clive 25
Havelock North 60 Tamatea 8
Napier Technical 42 MAC 17
Taradale 32 Hastings Rugby and Sports 16
Clifton 20 New Plymouth Old Boys 18
Tukapa 61 Stratford 12
Coastal 26 Southern 23
Pirates 28 Border 13
Kaierau 24 Taihape 15
Ruapehu 20 Ratana 15
Utiku OB 24 Marist 12
College Old Boys 32 Te Kawau 0
Old Boys Marist 24 Linton Army 7
Kia Toa 57 Freyberg 7
Varsity 71 Feilding Old Boys-Oroua 32
Marist St Pat's 28 Tawa 21
Old Boys-University 47 Wainuiomata 20
Hutt Old Boys-Marist 61 Wellington 14
Petone 36 Johnsonville 0
Oriental-Rongotai 31 Poneke 10
Upper Hutt Rams 27 Northern United 25
Waitohi 33 Nelson 15
Waimea OB 54 Kahurangi 6
Harlequins 87 Stoke 7
Central 65 Renwick 5
Moutere 39 Awatere 34
Wakatu Marist 13 Wanderers 13
White Star 67 Old Boys 7
Westport 24 Reefton 14
Marist-Albion 31 Sumner 26
HSOB 29 Belfast 5
Christchurch 40 Shirley 12
Sydenham 41 University 5
New Brighton 37 Burnside 30
Lincoln University 48 Linwood 29
Canterbury Country/Mid Canterbury
Southbridge 22 Darfield 5
Rakaia 30 Oxford 14
Kaiapoi 14 Ashley 13
Prebbleton 23 Methven 21
Saracens 36 Celtic 10
Burnham/Dunsandel/Irwin 20 Glenmark 12
Lincoln 46 West Melton 0
Southern 29 Ohoka 17
Old Boys 43 Excelsior 14
Valley 38 Kurow 8
Athletic-Marist 27 Maheno 19
Southern 29 Dunedin 20
Zingari-Richmond 34 Pirates 10
Kaikorai 38 Green Island 11
Taieri 32 University A 29
Harbour 27 Alhambra-Union 13