Aorere College: 32 (Penisoni Fineanganofo, JP Ngatoko, Mose Senio, Mosese Pepa tries; Ngatoko 2 con, 2 pen) Burnside High School: 13 (Mikaele Ravalawa try; Zion Smith 2 pen, 1 con)
Aorere College have won through to their first National co-education final since 2009 after eliminating South Island champions Burnside High School. Burnside mistakes and Aorere's ability to launch long-range counter attacks was the telling difference.
Initially Burnside found holes in the middle of the Aorere ruck defense and anchored themselves inside the Aorere 22. A fumble led to a breakout try for wing Mose Senio. The ball was shared between multiple players in a thrilling 80-metre movement. Burnside centre Mikaele Ravalawa was a standout performer. He was unlucky to be penalised for leaving his feet after a thumping tackle.
Aorere extended their advantage to 10-0 via a JP Ngatoko penalty. Zion Smith nailed a 25-metre penalty to put Burnside on the board, but Aorere scored 10 points before halftime to take a decisive lead to the interval. Blindside Penisoni Fineanganofo bowled over after repeat pick and goes and Ngatoko slotted a second penalty.
Ravalawa inspired a Burnside rally when he scorched through the Aorere defense and burst 25-metres, but when the score was 20-13 Aorere's electric fullback Mosese Pepa skipped away from would-be tacklers to make it 25-13. Burnside captain Cam Russell fought his way back into the Aorere 22, but an intercept by Ngatoko sealed victory for the South Auckland school. Aorere first-five Demas Kururangi used the wind to kick the corners effectively.
Lock Siaosi Alatini's work rate was outstanding and Pepa, Ngatoko and Fineanganofo flourished. For Burnside lock Jason Embling and Russell battled gamely.
Feilding High School: 20 (Vilimoni Koroi, David Parker tries; Kody Edwards 2 con, 2 pen) St. Peter's Cambridge: 6 (Rewita Biddle 2 pen)
Feilding High School have avenged their defeat to St. Peter's Cambridge in the Central North Island series to win through to the National co-education final for the third time.
Two outstanding tries in the first-half and resolute defense throughout earned Feilding their passage. St. Peter's used the wind to good effect to control territory in the early stages. Mistakes kept both teams scoreless. In the 15th minute Feilding second-five John Lomu busted four tackles and surged to within metres of the St. Peter's line.
Looking to connect with his support, Lomu threw a pass that was intercepted by St. Peters. St. Peter's lost the ball at the next ruck and Feilding whipped it wide to fullback Vilimoni Koroi who bumped off two tackles and stretched out to score in the corner. Koroi, who played with a noticeable hobble, turned from hero to villain when he was yellow-carded for a no-arms tackle. Feilding scored when Koroi was absent. Wing Moije Dawai broke several tackles and roared inside the St. Peter's 22.
Openside Jack Kinder fumbled the ball over the line in support, following a great tackle by Rewita Biddle. From the scrum Feilding won a tighthead and No.8 David Parker powered over. Biddle kicked two penalties for St. Peter's and tired hard to break the sturdy Feilding defense which spend most of the second-half in their own 22. Kinder atoned for his blemish with a feverish performance.
He was well supported by hooker Hunter Aiken, blindside Tyler Moeau and Parker. First-five Kody Edwards is an assured performer. For St. Peter's the Morris brothers Jacob and Oliver were a hive of activity in the loose and lock Laghlan McWhannell soared in the lineouts and was an aggressive presence.
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