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Game Day - Week 3
SATURDAY 16th APRIL 2016
SCORERS: Shirley 31 HSOB 30; New Brighton 27 Sydenham 19; Christchurch 41 Linwood 21; Lincoln University 26 Burnside 13; Marist Albion 33 Sumner 27; University 81 Belfast 8.
CUP SPOTLIGHT SETTLES SQUARELY ON SHIRLEY
Wins have been few and far between for Shirley in the metro division one competition in recent years, but those blues were forgotten in the third round of the Hawkins Cup on Saturday when they claimed the scalp of Plate champions High School Old Boys.
Shirley had not been disgraced in losses to University and Linwood in the opening two rounds, but it was still at long odds to down an Old Boys team boasting several ITM representative players. When Old Boys led by 18 points with 18min to play, those odds had blown out to triple figures.
But Shirley was to prove its doubters wrong. It started to win the contact and chance its arm, running at angles that exposed the Old Boys’ defence. Three long-range tries, two converted, in 9min had Shirley a point ahead with 4min to play and it held on, gratefully scrambling the ball into touch at the death after Old Boys coughed it up when on attack.
The win lifted Shirley to seventh on the table ahead of teams such as Old Boys, Sydenham and Sumner.
That was the only upset on a sunny day with the benign conditions and firm fields allowing plenty of running rugby and a hatful of tries. University led the way, scoring 12 in its 81-8 thrashing of Belfast, which has lost ground after a promising start to the season.
Crusader Marty McKenzie, at first-five, was exceptional in his debut for University, racking up 31 points. He scored twice, assisted in three others, kicked nine conversions and one penalty.
Last year’s top two Cup teams, champion Lincoln University and runner-up New Brighton, head the table with the maximum 15 points, but the only other unbeaten team after two rounds, Linwood, was well and truly towelled by Christchurch at Linfield Park. The loss meant Christchurch was able to hand the infamous ``Crying Towel’’ to its hosts.
Lincoln University did not have it all its own way against a plucky Burnside team still seeking its first win. Lincoln led by only five points at half-time and by six with 5min to play before its clinched a match-winning try.
New Brighton also was made to work hard at home before overcoming a feisty Sydenham. Sydenham’s defence was much improved and Brighton was unable to unleash out wide, but its strong scrum and competitive lineout proved assets. A last-second sideline conversion missed thus denying Sydenham a deserved bonus point.
Sumner, down by 23 points only minutes from half-time, regained its supporters’ faith with a rousing second-half performance which almost saw it score a dramatic comeback win against Marist Albion. In the end it came up seven points short. Marist first-five Hagen Schulte played a key role in his team’s win, converting all three tries and kicking three penalty goals.
SHIRLEY v HSOB
At Burwood Park: Shirley 31 (George Akerei, Oli Mills, Keanu Taumata, Jake Vernall, Junior Taia tries; Nathan Smith 3 conv) beat High School old Boys 30 (Jarred Percival 2, Angus Cameron tries; Percival 3 conv, 3 pen). HT: 7-16. Referee: Carl Johnson.
On a sunny day, Shirley brought joy to the faces of their ardent supporters with a nine-minute try-scoring blitz that earned a bonus point and snatched the game away from a bemused HSOB.
In recording their first win of the season, Shirley outscored the visitors five tries to three, deserving their win because they were more inventive in the last quarter a feature of which was the influence substitutions had on the final outcome.
HSOB dominated the set pieces in the first half relegating Shirley to the back foot and scrambling at the breakdown exchanges. With their scrum under pressure and on the wrong side of a two to one penalty count, the light blues were seemingly under the pump. Crusader Reed Prinsep, playing a powerful role at scrum, lineout and in the loose, created problems for Shirley each time he was near the action.
Go forward created by the Old Boys pack provided licence for first-five Jarred Percival to direct play with aplomb. Fullback George Bridge displayed speed and power running into the line causing Shirley to scramble defensively. Percival scored all Old Boys’ first half points with penalties in the 5th, 20th and 28th min and a converted try in the 23rd min.
The home team, whilst under pressure, where prominent in broken play and ran hard at and through the line with limited opportunities. First-five Nathan Smith showed two glimpses when he ran to the line twice making huge inroads into the visitors’ defensive structures.
Late in the half, a Shirley attacking scrum held steady. No.8 George Akerei went from the back, progressing to 5m from the goal-line. Five pick-and-goes and a tap penalty later he finished the business with a powerful surge over the line. Smith converted and the teams went for oranges at 16-7.
Three minutes after the restart, Shirley closed the gap to four when busy little halfback Oli Mills grabbed a loose ball, wrong-footed the defence, and scooted 35m to dot down.
Old Boys regrouped with Prinsep and lock Angus Cameron leading the charge taking it to Shirley. Cameron crossed in the 46th min and Percival converted. Then Percival scored and converted his second try to give Old Boys an 18-point lead with 18min left on the clock.
In the last 13min, Shirley went from a side hanging in, stubbornly refusing to be discouraged or intimidated, to taking control of their own destiny. Old Boys, who had been cruising, were suddenly struggling and being hassled by an opponent who was winning the contact and running at them from all angles.
With back and forwards chiming in, quick clearance of the ball to the flanks and clever changes of running lines, Shirley exposed defensive deficiencies out wide and in the midfield resulting in three creative long-range tries to replacements, Keanu Taumata and Jake Vernall, and to hard-running centre Junior Taia.
Smith converted two of these and Shirley were one point ahead with 4min to play. The game finished deep in Shirley territory when the visitors lost the ball and the locals scrambled it into touch.
In a game played in a tremendously competitive spirit where the hits and exchanges were as hard as the ground, Shirley players who left nothing on the park were hooker Matt McLachlan, flanker Siua Maile, and captain Tom Keith who kept his team focused in the dying stages. Smith was a heady director of play and Taia was a hard-running centre and tackler.
Old Boys, who must have wondered what went so horribly wrong. They had quality players in Prinsep (whose subbing in the 60th min seemed to coincide with Shirley’s revival) and lock Cameron, who was a dominating presence at the lineout. Percival played with skill and confidence and was 100% kicking for goal, and fullback Bridge impressed with his first-half line incursions.
Hawkins MVP: Matt McLachlan (Shirley) 3, Jarred Percival (HSOB) 2, Nathan Smith (Shirley) 1.
In the division two curtain-raiser, Christchurch retained the Challenge Shield and maintained its 100% winning record for the season with an emphatic, 51-10, (nine tries to two) victory over Shirley. The visitors had too many line-breakers all over the park for a home side to contain and though they never dropped their heads they were simply out-gunned.
Shirley competed strongly in the set piece. However, unforced surrender of possession in the contact, a reluctance to tidy up the loose ball and failure to move up on defence allowed Christchurch the time and space to showcase their running skills.
The entering of fullback Ben Adargh (who scored three tries) into the attacking line was a feature. Other Christchurch standouts in a team effort were prop Matt Freeman, lock Stefan Bendaal and diminutive halfback Shu Yoshamato.
In a Shirley side that showed glimpses of what it might achieve with more attention to detail, prop Mark Drabble toiled tirelessly and was rewarded with a try, flanker Ranui Burchett tackled strongly on the edges and starting halfback (later switched to first-five) Vena Falaniko was a potent runner.
NEW BRIGHTON v SYDENHAM
At Rawhiti Domain: New Brighton 27 (Joe Stewart 2, Tony Christie, Billy Harmon tries; Scott Davidson 2 conv, pen) beat Sydenham 19 (Matt James 2, Ila Lamositele tries; Kieran Lindsay 2 conv). HT: 15-7. Referee: Jamie Nutbrown.
After two very comfortable wins to start the season, New Brighton got the work out it needed to assess its early progress and the home team responded to the gauntlet thrown down by Sydenham.
This game, on a dry dust bowl, was a battle of attrition, the defence unyielding, attackers knocked to the ground before they had a chance to take two steps and the fight for the breakdown extremely competitive.
In recent years, New Brighton has battled to combat the powerful Sydenham pack and looked to free the ball wide as soon as possible, but on this occasion the seasiders outmuscled their opposition, especially in the scrums with two tightheads won.
In the lineouts, New Brighton also pressurised the Sydenham throws with No.8 Aaron McCoy and flanker Billy Harmon winning ball against the throw at the back, while beanpole lock Ben Nelson ensured a good supply in the middle.
Sydenham was not to be outdone, however, with lock Morgan Innes making some clean takes at the front and flanker Matt James climbing high at the back as he tussled with Harmon.
But Brighton will be well pleased by its scrum and especially the hard graft from the front row of props Carisbrook Toomai’atai and Rawiri Karena and former Canterbury hooker Marcel Cumming-Toone. They have performed exceptionally well in all three games.
Toomai’atai gave lie to the fact that props can no longer last 80 torrid minutes. This nuggety tighthead featured early with some powerful running and committed defence. At the final whistle he was competing with the same vigour he had shown at the start.
Sydenham did remarkably well to hold Brighton to 8-0 after 17min for the seasiders dominated both territory and possession. A Sydenham fumble from a bomb allowed Brighton first-five Tony Christie to score the first try after 15min and Scott Davidson added a penalty 12min later.
Ironically, taking the penalty kick allowed Sydenham to restart and get into Brighton’s territory for the first time for many minutes and it scored immediately through the alertness of James who pounced on a charged down ball and found freedom to score under the posts.
That reduced the lead to a point but Brighton hit back immediately from the kick-off, a Sydenham pass intercepted and lock Joe Stewart being put in the clear for Davidson to convert and put his team ahead by seven points at the break.
The third quarter was scoreless, both sides starting to feel the effects of a frenetic game and turnovers, dropped passes and penalties becoming more prevalent. After 57min Brighton kicked for the touch-line from a penalty, won the lineout, and an incisive break by second-five Brett Mather ended with replacement flanker Ryan Newman finding Harmon unmarked on the inside.
Sydenham closed to 22-14 when James scored his second try after a 7m lineout drive, but Stewart got his second for Brighton from the same method except Brighton drove 15m to the line. A resolute Sydenham spent the last 5min hot on attack and deserved its third try late in injury time, but Kieran Lindsay, who had converted James’s try from the sideline, failed with his final kick from the same position and the Cardinals were denied the bonus point they warranted.
Hawkins MVP: Carisbrook Toomai’atai (New Brighton) 3, Billy Harmon (New Brighton) 2, Matt James (Sydenham) 1.
The form book was a reliable guide in the premier colts curtain-raiser with New Brighton recording its third straight win and Shirley suffering its third consecutive loss. Brighton raced to an early 15-0 lead, increased it to 27-7 at the break and was ahead at the end, 42-14, having scored seven tries.
Brighton played with good fluidity in the first half and the inter-passing was a feature with both forwards and backs showing good understanding of moving the ball into space. But Shirley never tossed in the towel and was encouraged with a try on half-time after prop Emmanuel Galdeano barged across after a series of penalties and drives close to the line.
Shirley defended strongly in the second half for long periods and Brighton became a bit cramped, but when the ball was moved to fast-stepping centre Walter Huata and Welsh wing Liam Smith the points were accrued.
Brighton flanker Scott Powell was a good ball-winner at the front of the lineout and he was committed on defence, while replacement Shirley flanker John Ioane pushed aside the last defender to score his team’s second try and celebrated with a swan dive.
CHRISTCHURCH v LINWOOD
At Linfield Park: Christchurch 41 (Daniel Koster, Brad Tucker, Eliot Scott, Cam Bailey, Inga Finau, Daniel Dorgan tries; Bailey pen, 3 conv; Nick Annear conv) beat Linwood 21 (Jordan Stewart, Tyler Kini tries; Zac Southen conv, 3 pen). HT: 22-13. Referee: Kane McBride.
In an uncompromising display of no holds barred rugby, Linwood and Christchurch tried to bash each other into submission in order to not gain possession of the “Crying Towel”.
Held by Christchurch after Linwood scored late to win in 2015, the famous inter-club trophy that no one wants to win, was up for grabs in its 48th year having been started by Christchurch and Linwood stalwarts Roger Mahon and Brent Elder. Mahon was in attendance to see his Christchurch club comprehensively return the “towel” to Linwood.
Both sides played some enterprising running rugby along with bone-crunching tackles and shuddering drives into rucks and mauls. There were injury replacements and blood stoppages, but neither side was prepared to give in.
Christchurch established scrum dominance early and held sway throughout the match, regularly disrupting Linwood’s scrum feeds and three times stole the ball with a concerted shove.
Cam Bailey and Zac Southen traded early penalties then in the 9th min halfback Steve Alfeld fired a cut-out pass to second-five Inga Finau, a former Linwood player, who passed onto centre Daniel Koster, who easily outflanked a tardy Linwood defence.
Linwood made 80m off a misdirected Christchurch lineout that landed in the arms of flanker Jordan Stewart, who with halfback Maia Gibbs made the gain. Southen kicked an easy penalty and then another strong run by Linwood No.8 Tepasu Thomas, who had a barnstorming game, began a series of hit-ups which put Stewart clear to score and give Linwood the lead.
This was relatively short-lived as a number of hard-driving mauls had replacement lock Brad Tucker across and the lead back to the red-and-blacks, one which was never to be relinquished.
Right on the break a neat scrum move by Christchurch had pacy left wing Eliot Scott join the backline on the loop, and easily blow by a Linwood forward in their backline, to increase the lead to 22-13 at half-time.
After the restart it was more of the same from the visitors. But Linwood were adventurous and prepared to take risks. One big break had Thomas roaming free for 50m almost making it to the try-line, only to see the ball turned over and an interchange between Scott and Bailey saw the Christchurch fullback over in the corner at the other end.
Linwood had a brief resurgence with some slick passing and sleight of hand carrying them to the try-line, where the massive bulk of Tyler Kini bludgeoned his way over with 15min left to give the home side some hope.
But it was not to be, as late tries to Inga Finau against his old club, and a defensive mix-up on full-time, gifted a loose ball in goal try to Christchurch first-five Daniel Dorgan.
For Christchurch, fullback Bailey was a prominent force with the ball in hand and Finau and Koster were a strong midfield pairing. Halfback Steve Alfeld distributed and kicked well and captain/lock William Mills and No.8 Kieran Coll carried the ball strongly. Replacement lock Tucker also stood out.
Linwood’s standout man was Thomas, who was just everywhere. He was well supported by Jordan Stewart who had a strong game regularly causing headaches for the Christchurch defence. Centre Sam Limu-Franklin was a dangerous runner, making several telling runs. First-five Southen was an astute playmaker but perhaps kicked the ball away a little too often.
Hawkins MVP: Cam Bailey (Chch) 3, Tepasu Thomas (Linwood) 2, Kieran Coll (Chch) 1.
The division two curtain-raiser between Linwood and unbeaten New Brighton was another hard fought affair with several yellow cards and one red, attesting to the prickly nature of the match.
Scoring four 4 tries to two,2 the seasiders were generally always in charge of the match, but Linwood showed some ability at times upsetting New Brighton’s rhythm with some vigorous play, resulting in No.8 Vitale Ilalio and halfback Jinho Mun spending time in the bin. Wing Lui Smith was sent off for a dangerous charge and New Brighton No.8 Doug Stewart also spent 10min in the bin.
New Brighton flanker Dan Webb went across in a maul after 3min from a dominant scrum. A neat 8-9 move put halfback Ben Hanham over for the easiest of tries on 10min, and Webb was again on hand to go close and set up lock Lewis Pou to score on the half hour, and a 19-3 lead at the break.
Hanham was again in the action, now from first-five when a jinking run saw him send a looping pass to fullback Kevin Johnston, who chipped the defence and regathered to score. New Brighton then went to sleep for 20min allowing the home team back into the game as the seasiders made some silly and uncharacteristic blunders.
First-five Aayden Clarke, a Hawkes Bay product, showed he was a highly skilled player, regularly making inroads into New Brighton’s half with deceptive runs, setting up centre Ernie Tailua’s try.
Having been reduced to 13 men with the yellow and red cards, Linwood threw caution to the wind and enabled big wing Jemaine Franklin room to run. He stood up several defenders in scoring.
LINCOLN UNIVERSITY v BURNSIDE
At Burnside Park: Lincoln University 26 (Caleb Makene, Luke McKenna, Jack Stratton, Ben Morris tries; Makene 2 conv; Brett Cameron conv) beat Burnside 13 (David Smith try, conv, 2 pen). HT: 12-7. Referee: Blair Barclay.
Last season’s champions Lincoln University were favoured to beat Burnside who were coming off a substantial loss from the previous week.
But they probably did not expect the stern resistance that the home side presented. The students always looked to have the game under control with more possession and quality front-foot ball, however the Burnside team were always in the game trailing by only 12-7 at half-time.
It took until the 75th min for Lincoln University to finally bring the opposition to heel. Leading 19-13 a lineout win against the throw and a rumble to the line resulting in a try to replacement lock Ben Morris finally stamped their authority on the game.
Surprisingly Burnside started the stronger and only handling lapses denied them scoring opportunities. However, once the students settled to their work and found their rhythm they opened the scoring after 15min when fullback Caleb Makene entered the line and the defence slipped off tackles.
Makene was instrumental again in the next try some 10min later, making an incisive entry into the line to send flanker Luke McKenna away. He was lowered just short of the line but not held and regained his feet to dive over.
Burnside opened their account after 30min. After a strong touch-line run from wing Rowland Kotobalavu, first-five David Smith ranged up to take the inside pass and cross.
Shortly after the restart, Smith added a penalty to close the score to 12-10, but Lincoln University quickly replied with a converted try when second-five Jack Stratton burrowed over under a pile of bodies. A penalty to Burnside kept them in touch before the Morris try finally established some breathing space.
Lincoln University had the edge up front where they were well led by hooker Nick Werahiko, who was to the forefront of a particularly strong scrum. He received good support from lock Jack Powell, who carried the ball well, and flanker Angus Burrows.
Co-captain Stratton, playing at second-five, was tidy and efficient and directed play well while fullback Makene always created impetus when he entered the line.
Despite still remaining winless, Burnside could take a great deal from the game in terms of commitment and effort. Crusader Peter Samu was always to the fore in carrying the ball forward likewise mobile lock Ben Kleinjan who was also sound on defence. Smith, who operated from both first-five and fullback played a strong supporting role.
Hawkins MVP: Jack Stratton (LU) 3, Peter Samu (Burnside) 2, Caleb Makene (LU) 1.
The opening game was a colts premier match where Burnside recorded a resounding 40-8 victory over Linwood after leading 27-3 at the break.
The home side had the game effectively wrapped up by half-time after a strong first 40min and would certainly have added more than the 13 points they scored in the second half if they had played for field position and not strayed from the game plan that provided 27 first-half points.
Burnside had a strong flanker duo in Keenan Gibson and Sean Forster and halfback Dayne Corbishley cleared the ball quickly and efficiently to his backline where second-five Jack Lindsay prospered scoring two tries.
Linwood flanker Sam Samuela and No.8 Wayne Sofai tried valiantly to provide some go forward ball in difficult circumstances and in midfield Wez Harvey and Tim Seinafo were sound defenders.
MARIST ALBION v SUMNER
At St Leonard’s Square: Marist Albion 33 (Desmond Spooner 2 tries; penalty try; Hagen Schulte 3 conv, 4 pen) beat Sumner 27 (Dylan Nel, Poasa Waqanibau, Marshall Suckling tries; Nikolas Cumming 3 conv, 2 pen). HT: 23-10. Sin-bin: Dylan Nel (Sumner), Nikolas Cumming (Sumner). Referee: Liam Scanlon.
As the Sumner players pressed desperately for a winning try (and conversion) in injury time, they would have completely forgotten they were down 0-23 with a few minutes to go in the first half.
On reflection, they will be regretting giving Marist Albion such a good start.
The visitors’ scrum was crucial to their big early lead. Ironically, it let them down near the end to give Sumner a real sniff of victory.
The home side stole the ball from a Marist Albion feed 40m out, Josh Leszczuk took play left, substitute halfback Tom Ziolo hit the pass at full tilt, and Marshall Suckling sprinted across in the corner.
First-five Nikolas Cumming, who had just come back after being sin-binned for a lifting tackle on his marker, Hagen Schulte, converted from the sideline.
The home crowd smelled blood, raucously exhorting their only too willing players to pull off the remarkable. If the rugby gods had looked more kindly on Suckling at the death, they might have done so.
Marist Albion opened the try stakes with a penalty try, as Sumner blindside flanker Dylan Nel interfered illegally with an attempted push-over try, and to rub it in was yellow-carded.
Nel atoned for his sin by scoring after a lineout drive and long siege by the Sumner forwards 5min from half-time.
But before then, Marist Albion’s feisty centre, Des Spooner, had scored the first of his two tries, coming infield off a 5m scrum. Spooner’s second try, in the third quarter, came after sustained forward pressure but the livewire still had a lot of work to do.
Spooner’s marker, Poasa Waqanibau, was a real handful throughout the match and the strapping Fijian wowed the crowd with a dazzling solo try in the third quarter.
For Marist Albion, openside flanker Charlie Gamble sporadically showed how dangerous he can be on the burst and No.8 Jacob O’Donnell put in 80min of good grunt and covering work.
When the ball came his way on the right wing, Chris Crichton was as slippery as a butcher’s handshake.
Schulte, after looking a bit rusty in practice, kicked very well at goal, even trying a couple of long-range drop-kicks, one of which bounced off an upright, halfway up. His punting was often huge.
Lawrence Babe had another big day in the Sumner pack, along with mobile prop Sean Paranihi, Nel, and the ever-present Leszczuk.
Hawkins MVP: Hagen Schulte (Marist Albion) 3, Desmond Spooner (Marist Albion) 2, Poasa Waqanibau (Sumner) 1.
In the curtain-raiser, the Lincoln University second XV came back from a 3-10 half-time deficit to notch their first win of the season, 32-22, against Sumner.
The resurgence was sparked by fullback Nick Lake, who scored a stunning solo try before setting up ebullient halfback Jono Schwass for a stretching touchdown under the bar.
Dashing right wing Josh Barrett sped through then centre Will Taufua laid waste to the defence before Sumner regained some respectability with an imposing try from a rolling maul.
Prop Patrick Stefano, who made one long blockbusting run, and captain Matt Heffernan led the way in the Lincoln forward pack.
For Sumner, right wing Ross McCann scored two tries, Dale Crowe was staunch in midfield, and hooker Jordan Sa gave his all as did his cousin Tufuga Sa, at centre.
UNIVERSITY v BELFAST
At Ilam 1: University 81 (Isaac Leota 3, Marty McKenzie 2, Jone Macilai 2, Tailah Love 2, Ryan O’Sullivan, Bradley Hemopo, Doug Tauiwi tries; McKenzie 9 conv, pen) beat Belfast 8 (Frank Havea try; Will Stevens pen) HT: 17-3. Referee: Chelsea Gurr. Sin-bin: Marty McKenzie (University).
Damien McKenzie has been the find of the year for the Chiefs in Super Rugby and his brother Marty McKenzie gave everyone a reminder of his talent as well as the depth in the No.10 jersey in the Crusaders’ system as University routed Belfast.
The 12 tries-to-one victory was all one-way traffic, however, as Belfast kept things tight in a scrappy first half marred by errors and plenty of turnovers from both sides.
Belfast started the better as they found themselves hot on attack early, but their handling let them down before McKenzie opened the scoring with a penalty in University’s first foray onto attack.
The game’s first try came moments later. After a strong take at the kick-off by University lock Marty Swaffield, the ball was spread wide to the right where flanker Ryan O’Sullivan dotted down after supplying a great support run up the middle of the park.
After McKenzie converted Belfast experienced their best period of the match as they made several incisions through the Varsity defence, the first of which saw McKenzie sin-binned for a high shot.
For all their endeavour however, Belfast could only net three points from a penalty to Will Stevens.
With 38min gone the game was still very much in the balance at 10-3 until Isaac Leota gave a taste of what was to come in the second half as he cut through Belfast’s left side defence before he sent Bradley Hemopo over for a try to give University momentum heading into half-time.
The second half started in scrappy fashion with both sides feeling each other out, but after three turnovers in a minute McKenzie stamped his mark on the game with a superb individual try as he used his speed to weave his way through three tacklers.
Sensing blood, University kept returning to Belfast’s left edge, which was somewhat resembling a set of turnstiles, as they ran in three tries in 5min, Leota scoring twice and Jone Macilai once.
After being camped in Belfast’s 22m for a period, sustained defensive pressure and some strong direct running had Belfast at sixes and sevens before the ball was spread to Leota, who completed his hat-trick by scoring one of the easiest tries he’ll ever score.
Sick of scoring at will down the right-hand side, University thought they’d change things up by attack down the left where their skipper Sam Godwin made a bust and laid a try on a plate for fullback Tailah Love to make it 59-3.
Macilai scored his second minutes later with McKenzie converting to keep his 100 per cent record intact before Doug Tauiwi and Love also profited down that leaky right side.
With the score 76-3 and 6min left, Belfast finally got their moment in the sun as No.8 Frank Havea barged across to celebrate his 50th game before McKenzie added the finishing touches with some individual brilliance down the left-hand touch-line.
McKenzie was simply brilliant. He attacked the line with vigour, he had a hand in no less than five of his team’s 12 tries whilst scoring two himself and he nailed 10 from 10 with the boot in a stunning individual display.
A strong contributor who is churning out consistency, Leota turned the match in Varsity’s favour with a strong bust and try assist right on half-time before his penetrating runs earned him three second-half tries.
Macilai had a quiet first half before his dazzling footwork and deft touches caused Belfast real distress down their left edge as he crossed for two and had a hand in a couple of other tries.
Swaffield was another impressive contributor as he was rock solid at lineout time and was safe with the kick-offs which was key to University unleashing their attacking raids from the back.
Hawkins MVP: Marty McKenzie (University) 3, Isaac Leota (University) 2, Jone Macilai (University) 1.
University kept their unbeaten start to the season going in the division two curtain-raiser with a 17-15 win over Marist Albion.
In a tightly contested match, Marist Albion surged ahead 15-10 in the second half with a couple of penalties before strong pressure up front helped University claim the go-ahead try and a vital four competition points.
Points as at 16th April
HAWKINS DIVISION 2 - CUP
Challenge Shield Match - Christchurch Retain
Shirley 10 v. Christchurch 51, HSOB 26 v. Sydenham 24, University 17 v. Marist Albion 15, Linwood 15 v. New Brighton 24, Lyttelton 29 v. Belfast 10, Suburbs 19 v. Burnside 28, Sumner 22 v. Lincoln University 32;
HAWKINS COLTS PREMIER - CUP
Challenge Shield Match - Lincoln University Retain
Lincoln University 17 v. Marist Albion 17, Christchurch 16 v. HSOB 8, Burnside 40 v. Linwood 8, University v. Sydenham, Sydenham win by default, New Brighton 42 v. Shirley 14, Belfast bye;
HAWKINS DIVISION 3
Challenge Shield Match - Christchurch Retain
Otautahi 8 v. Christchurch 33, Suburbs 17 v. Burnside 31, University 7 v. Marist Albion 13, Marist Albion Beacons 15 v. HSOB 10;
METRO COLTS - CUP
Challenge Shield - HSOB Holder
Burnside v. Sumner, Burnside win by default,
New Brighton 17 v. Linwood 51, Ashley 10 v. Merivale Papanui 14, Glenmark-Cheviot 17 v. Christchurch 32, CBHS 2nd XV v. University, still to be played, Marist Albion v. Lincoln University, still to be played, HSOB bye;
METRO DIVISION 4 - CUP
Challenge Shield Match – Marist Albion Win
Marist Albion 10 v. New Brighton 8, Shirley W 15 v. Suburbs S 47, Lyttelton 48 v. Burnside 0, Belfast 36 v. Shirley 12;
CLASSICS - CUP
Challenge Shield Match – Belfast M Win
Sydenham S 21 v. Belfast M 24, Sumner S 23 v. HSOB K 25, Linwood B 24 v. Christchurch C 32;
WOMENS - CUP
Challenge Shield Match - University Retain
Burnside 0 v. University 55, Burn/Duns/Irwell 0 v. Christchurch 55, Sydenham 0 v. Suburbs 55, Linwood 0 v. HSOB 55, Lincoln 72 v. Kaiapoi 25, Marist Albion bye;
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