Hamilton Girls’ High School and St Mary’s College will contest Sunday’s Girls Top 4 rugby Final after winning contrasting semi-finals in extremely windy conditions at Massey University at Palmerston North on Friday.
In the first game, St Mary’s battled to a 22-17 win over Auckland’s Southern Cross Campus, while Hamilton Girls’ High took control of the second half to blow defending champions Southland Girls’ High School away 51-12.
Reports of the two games are below.
(Hurricanes) St Mary's College: 22 v (Blues) Southern Cross Campus: 17
St Mary's College won through to the final for the second consecutive year, eliminating Auckland champions Southern Cross Campus, 22-17.
St. Mary's always led, but was genuinely challenged by the elements and an abrasive, stubborn opponent.
Southern Cross attacked initially with promise, but failed to make any headway on the scoreboard.
After about 10 minutes, St Mary's scored the first try when they ventured into the Southern Cross 22 and lock Emma Brown strode through, casting aside meek defence.
St Mary's No.8 Dhys Faleafaga was exceptional for the Wellington champions again and extended the lead when she swatted aside three defenders and galloped 65-metres.
The halftime score was 12-0 to St Mary's.
Turning with the wind in their favour, Southern Cross was able to dominate territory early in the second spell. Big Luti Sikoloni was an effective battering ram, but it was her equally formidable teammate Tilila Hifo who barged over to reduce the deficit to 12-7.
St Mary's looked threatening when they spread the ball wide, not always easy in the conditions. Left wing Riarna Vulu outflanked the defence to make it 17-7.
Hifo responded for Southern Cross to make it 17-12. Powerful surges by impressive second-five Sarah Filimoeatu and flanker Oloataua Magele were instrumental in the set up.
St Mary’s was awarded a succession of penalties and Southern Cross was made to pay when right wing Malia Efaraimo-Leafe touched down in the corner following a nice pass by pivot Cheyne Copeland.
Centre Zoya To'ofohe scored a consolation try on fulltime for Southern Cross.
A litany of errors and poor management of the wind hampered both teams in a close, but unmemorable affair.
(Chiefs) Hamilton Girls’ High School 51: v (South Island) Southland Girls’ High School 12:
Southland Girls’ reign as champions is over after succumbing to Hamilton Girls’ High School 51-12.
In marginally better conditions than the earlier semi-final, both teams started vibrantly exchanging tries with some expansive and skilful rugby.
Halfback Arorangi Tauranga opened Hamilton’s account before No.8 Jessica Dermody responded for Southland by striding 15-metres after an attacking scrum.
Hamilton took the lead when second-five Montessa Taikarena dotted down, but the game hung in the balance until a minute before the interval.
Hamilton had a defensive scrum five-metres out from their own line. Instead of kicking for touch centre Jazmin Hotham boldly chose to run. She stepped off the left foot to avoid the first defender, shrugged aside another attempted tackle and dashed 90-metres to complete a blockbuster. See video of this try below.
Hamilton inspired by Hotham’s brilliance sized total control. Prop Rianna Aspinal smashed over from close range for a fourth try. Taikarena nabbed a second after a break of 30-metres and No.8 Lonita Ngalu pounced on a fumble to scamper 60-metres.
Southland never gave up and came back with a good consolation try. For Southland, No. 8 Dermody and first five-eighth Amy Du Plessis played well all match.
However, Hamilton crossed twice more before fulltime, one another breakout try, the second after another rapid build-up inside’s Southland’s 22
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