End of race in sight

The chase: Tokararangi halfback Te Kooti Kingi makes a break, supported by his side’s player of the day, centre Te Whetu Waitoa (left), as Ruatoria City right wing Quentin Takarangi gives chase. Picture by Doone Harrison

The race for the Jury Harrison Memorial Trophy — the second-round prize in East Coast club rugby — ends on Saturday.

Hikurangi defended the Kath McLean Memorial Trophy for the first round by beating Tokararangi 29-19 at Whakarua Park on May 19, and overpowered their Hicks Bay guests 41-12 last Saturday. Tokararangi made a successful foray to the Park, beating Ruatoria City 15-14, while Uawa drew 10-all with hosts Tihirau Victory Club at Whangaparaoa.

Hikurangi’s bonus-point win for four tries against Hicks Bay now has “The Maunga” tied with Uawa on 23 second-round points, with TVC (21) in third position. Tokararangi’s win against City secured their Top 4 position for the semifinals in a fortnight. City cannot now make the semis.

City (17pts) say goodbye to the season at home against Waiapu (5pts) on Saturday, while Hicks Bay (11pts) host defending champions TVC, and Tokararangi (20pts) are at home to Hikurangi. Uawa have the bye and will take five points for Tokomaru Bay United’s withdrawal.

Indivisible — standing champions TVC and Tolaga Bay rugby powerhouse Uawa could not be separated in their last meeting before the semis.

In their May 12 clash, Uawa led 10-0 at halftime but lost 13-10. On Saturday it was nil-all at the break.

“It was a tight, forward-oriented game, frustrating in some ways,” TVC captain and second five-eighth Moana Mato said.

“The defence from both teams was unreal in the first half. They plugged the corners, and we had to defend in our own 22.”

TVC first-five Verdon Bartlett scored the game’s first try, and right wing Peti Delamere converted for a 7-0 lead.

Uawa closed it to 7-5 with fullback BJ Sidney’s try, and in the 61st minute they hit the front, 10-7, when captain and blindside flanker Scott Lasenby scored the last try of the match.

It was the first time Uawa had held the upper hand that afternoon, but then TVC halfback Tevita Ahoafi, his team playing under advantage, kicked a 10-metre drop goal head-on to make it 10-all.

Uawa openside flanker Rikki Kernohan was the visitors’ player of the day. The fetcher’s involvement in all areas is a huge asset to the Blues’ pack.

Lock Daniel Knubley and second-five Rikki Crawford were also major contributors to the Uawa cause.

Lasenby said: “It was a good work-out — hard, fast and very physical.”

Hicks Bay didn’t just hand it over.

But, having held Hikurangi off for 30 minutes, Hicks Bay then conceded three tries before halftime.

The home team’s Fabyan Kahaki opened the scoring with the first of his three tries from fullback. Halfback Neihana Ratahi-Brown and second-five Paddy Wharepapa added a try each to give Hikurangi a 19-0 lead at the break, fullback Te Aho Matua Morice having converted the first two tries. Morice is the competition’s leading pointscorer. By the end of Saturday’s game he had scored 110.

Hicks Bay titan and player of the day, tighthead prop Aaron King, ignited the second half with a try for his team’s first points, but tries to Kahaki and Ratahi-Brown stretched the home team’s lead to 29-5.

Hicks Bay scored next, which — with left wing Pirika Pahuru-Huriwai’s conversion — made the score 29-12.

Then it was back to business; Kahaki completed his hat-trick — that try being unconverted — and reserve left wing Hone Manuel, who turns 18 on Thursday, tore down his sideline, then infield, to score. The conversion made the final score 41-12. Hikurangi had won the May 12 fixture at Wharekahika 36-0.

“Our forwards set a platform for expansive back-play, although at times we did have to grind,” Hikurangi captain and hooker Ngarimu Parata said.

Hicks Bay did well with the pick-and-go, and ran good lines, while Hikurangi’s scrum was strengthened by their player of the day, veteran loosehead prop Joey Keelan, Parata said.

Hikurangi have a tradition of hard muscle in the tight five. Coach Doone Harrison attributed the momentum shift in the 30th minute to ball-retention.

Parata gave credit to Hicks Bay player-coach and starting second-five Warren Henderson’s crew — King and lock-cum-loosehead prop Kingi Earl Houkamau in particular — for their grunt up front.

Henderson said it was a good effort from his team.

“We held up at set-piece,” he said.

“Our forwards carried the ball well, halfback Tyrone Delamere — who later moved to second-five for me — had a solid game and Sean Murtagh had another blinder at fullback.”

Tokararangi have resources — determination, toughness and the ability to win important games away from home.

Before this weekend, Ruatoria City had a mathematical chance of making the semifinals in a fortnight. That disappeared when 4 v 5 — Tokararangi v City — went Tokararangi’s way, 15-14.

Tokararangi beat City 27-19 at Te Araroa in the first round to retain (at that time) third place.

On Saturday, Tokararangi loosehead prop Josh King scored the opening try from close range at the 30-minute mark. It was testament to the visitors’ toughness.

Tokararangi No.8 Hone Haerewa crossed for 10-0 on halftime.

Centre Taiaho White then scored for Ruatoria in the 50th minute.

City coach Lisa Muller did a top job of mixing and matching injured players. Ricky Grace and Quentin Takarangi began on the left and right wings respectively. Reserve Dennis Te Kahaki took Grace’s spot on the left side in the first half but when Takarangi also went down in the 50th minute — play continuing — the change had to be made seamlessly.

Dennis swapped sides, so as to avoid a stoppage, while his younger brother James Te Kahaki flew off the bench into the left-wing spot.

James scored in the 65th minute. That try, and White’s earlier five-pointer, were both converted by second-five Nathaniel Fox to give City the lead, 14-10.

Left wing Teina Potae’s try snatched victory for Tokararangi in the 76th minute, 15-14.

Potae’s teammate, centre Te Whetu Waitoa, was named Tokararangi’s player of the day.

“I couldn’t fault my boys’ effort in going out there to try for both the win and a four-try bonus,” City captain and tighthead prop Tim Barbarich said.

“We threw everything at Tokararangi and turned down numerous kickable penalties — which might have won us the game — in an effort to score tries.

“Full credit to Toka. They defended well and held us out in the end.”

The race for the Jury Harrison Memorial Trophy — the second-round prize in East Coast club rugby — ends on Saturday.

Hikurangi defended the Kath McLean Memorial Trophy for the first round by beating Tokararangi 29-19 at Whakarua Park on May 19, and overpowered their Hicks Bay guests 41-12 last Saturday. Tokararangi made a successful foray to the Park, beating Ruatoria City 15-14, while Uawa drew 10-all with hosts Tihirau Victory Club at Whangaparaoa.

Hikurangi’s bonus-point win for four tries against Hicks Bay now has “The Maunga” tied with Uawa on 23 second-round points, with TVC (21) in third position. Tokararangi’s win against City secured their Top 4 position for the semifinals in a fortnight. City cannot now make the semis.

City (17pts) say goodbye to the season at home against Waiapu (5pts) on Saturday, while Hicks Bay (11pts) host defending champions TVC, and Tokararangi (20pts) are at home to Hikurangi. Uawa have the bye and will take five points for Tokomaru Bay United’s withdrawal.

Indivisible — standing champions TVC and Tolaga Bay rugby powerhouse Uawa could not be separated in their last meeting before the semis.

In their May 12 clash, Uawa led 10-0 at halftime but lost 13-10. On Saturday it was nil-all at the break.

“It was a tight, forward-oriented game, frustrating in some ways,” TVC captain and second five-eighth Moana Mato said.

“The defence from both teams was unreal in the first half. They plugged the corners, and we had to defend in our own 22.”

TVC first-five Verdon Bartlett scored the game’s first try, and right wing Peti Delamere converted for a 7-0 lead.

Uawa closed it to 7-5 with fullback BJ Sidney’s try, and in the 61st minute they hit the front, 10-7, when captain and blindside flanker Scott Lasenby scored the last try of the match.

It was the first time Uawa had held the upper hand that afternoon, but then TVC halfback Tevita Ahoafi, his team playing under advantage, kicked a 10-metre drop goal head-on to make it 10-all.

Uawa openside flanker Rikki Kernohan was the visitors’ player of the day. The fetcher’s involvement in all areas is a huge asset to the Blues’ pack.

Lock Daniel Knubley and second-five Rikki Crawford were also major contributors to the Uawa cause.

Lasenby said: “It was a good work-out — hard, fast and very physical.”

Hicks Bay didn’t just hand it over.

But, having held Hikurangi off for 30 minutes, Hicks Bay then conceded three tries before halftime.

The home team’s Fabyan Kahaki opened the scoring with the first of his three tries from fullback. Halfback Neihana Ratahi-Brown and second-five Paddy Wharepapa added a try each to give Hikurangi a 19-0 lead at the break, fullback Te Aho Matua Morice having converted the first two tries. Morice is the competition’s leading pointscorer. By the end of Saturday’s game he had scored 110.

Hicks Bay titan and player of the day, tighthead prop Aaron King, ignited the second half with a try for his team’s first points, but tries to Kahaki and Ratahi-Brown stretched the home team’s lead to 29-5.

Hicks Bay scored next, which — with left wing Pirika Pahuru-Huriwai’s conversion — made the score 29-12.

Then it was back to business; Kahaki completed his hat-trick — that try being unconverted — and reserve left wing Hone Manuel, who turns 18 on Thursday, tore down his sideline, then infield, to score. The conversion made the final score 41-12. Hikurangi had won the May 12 fixture at Wharekahika 36-0.

“Our forwards set a platform for expansive back-play, although at times we did have to grind,” Hikurangi captain and hooker Ngarimu Parata said.

Hicks Bay did well with the pick-and-go, and ran good lines, while Hikurangi’s scrum was strengthened by their player of the day, veteran loosehead prop Joey Keelan, Parata said.

Hikurangi have a tradition of hard muscle in the tight five. Coach Doone Harrison attributed the momentum shift in the 30th minute to ball-retention.

Parata gave credit to Hicks Bay player-coach and starting second-five Warren Henderson’s crew — King and lock-cum-loosehead prop Kingi Earl Houkamau in particular — for their grunt up front.

Henderson said it was a good effort from his team.

“We held up at set-piece,” he said.

“Our forwards carried the ball well, halfback Tyrone Delamere — who later moved to second-five for me — had a solid game and Sean Murtagh had another blinder at fullback.”

Tokararangi have resources — determination, toughness and the ability to win important games away from home.

Before this weekend, Ruatoria City had a mathematical chance of making the semifinals in a fortnight. That disappeared when 4 v 5 — Tokararangi v City — went Tokararangi’s way, 15-14.

Tokararangi beat City 27-19 at Te Araroa in the first round to retain (at that time) third place.

On Saturday, Tokararangi loosehead prop Josh King scored the opening try from close range at the 30-minute mark. It was testament to the visitors’ toughness.

Tokararangi No.8 Hone Haerewa crossed for 10-0 on halftime.

Centre Taiaho White then scored for Ruatoria in the 50th minute.

City coach Lisa Muller did a top job of mixing and matching injured players. Ricky Grace and Quentin Takarangi began on the left and right wings respectively. Reserve Dennis Te Kahaki took Grace’s spot on the left side in the first half but when Takarangi also went down in the 50th minute — play continuing — the change had to be made seamlessly.

Dennis swapped sides, so as to avoid a stoppage, while his younger brother James Te Kahaki flew off the bench into the left-wing spot.

James scored in the 65th minute. That try, and White’s earlier five-pointer, were both converted by second-five Nathaniel Fox to give City the lead, 14-10.

Left wing Teina Potae’s try snatched victory for Tokararangi in the 76th minute, 15-14.

Potae’s teammate, centre Te Whetu Waitoa, was named Tokararangi’s player of the day.

“I couldn’t fault my boys’ effort in going out there to try for both the win and a four-try bonus,” City captain and tighthead prop Tim Barbarich said.

“We threw everything at Tokararangi and turned down numerous kickable penalties — which might have won us the game — in an effort to score tries.

“Full credit to Toka. They defended well and held us out in the end.”

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