Canterbury dismantled Wellington 43-5 with the contest effectively over in the first dozen minutes. Canterbury scored three tries and led 17-0.
First-five Rosie Kelly was in the thick of the action profiting from a short side break by halfback Kendra Cocksegde and then regathering her own chip and chase in a 60-metre dash.
The dominance of the Canterbury pack was emphatic. Lock Chelesa Bremner scored a try when Wellington was pushed off their own ball five-metres out from the line. Earlier prop Amy Rule crashed through the Wellington defence like a bull in a china shop to set up Bremner.
For the Pride, replacement wing Ayesha Leti-I’iga scored an obligatory consolation try. The Black Ferns flyer making an encouraging return from injury.
Canterbury 43 (Rosie Kelly 2, Chelesa Bremner 2, Alana Bremner, Grace Steinmetz, Martha Mataele tries, Kendra Cocksedge 3 con, Isabella Waterman con) Wellington 5 (Ayesha Leti-I’iga try)
Waikato rallied from an 18-5 halftime deficit to overcome 2021 championship winners Manawatū in an absorbing and entertaining clash.
Waikato started brightly enough when Renee Holmes scored a try, retrieving a precise Chelsea Semple chip kick.
Manawatū soon gained the ascendancy with first-five Carys Dallinger outpacing the defence with swift footwork and fullback Selica Winiata poaching an intercept and scampering 60-metres clear.
The Waikato forwards were more hungry and direct in the second-spell, gradually breaking down the spirited Cyclones.
Loosehead prop Awhina Tangen-Wainohu had an outstanding game and scored two tries with displays of brute force. Rianna Aspinall looked like a piano mover when she carried multiple tacklers over the line in the 69th minute.
Dallinger equaled the Manawatū record for most penalty goals in a single match. Black Fern Anika Tiplady kicked four penalties against Bay of Plenty in 2004.
Waikato 33 (Awhina Tangen-Wainohu 2, Renee Holmes, Leata Puni Lio, Rianna Aspinall tries, Holmes 4 con) Manawatū 24 (Carys Dallinger, Selica Winiata tries; Dallinger 4 pen, con)
Auckland produced a strong first-half, leading 27-8 at the break. Hooker Saphire Abraham opened the scoring quickly when she barged over from a rolling maul.
Counties initial resistance reduced Auckland to a long spell on defence. The Heat were eventually rewarded when wing Lavinia Tauhalaliku collected a low pass from fullback Emily Kitson.
Black Ferns No.8 Charmaine McMenamin was in rampant form. She made a 40-metre break to create a try for wing Katelyn Vaha'akolo and then threw an offload in traffic to assist second-five Patricia Maliepo.
Maliepo was incisive throughout and combined effectively with Black Ferns skipper Ruahei Demant in the unfamiliar position of second five eighth. Vaha'akolo had a fine debut and lock Eloise Blackwell was industrious.
Anastasia Mamea was powerful at number eight for Countie. Waikohika Flesher was occasionally elusive and Glory Aiono added impact from the bench.
Auckland 39 (Patricia Maliepo 3, Katelyn Vaha'akolo 2, Saphire Abraham, Ruahei Demant 2 con, 1 pen, Maliepo con) Counties Manukau 20 (Lavinia Tauhalaliku, Glory Aiono, Jaymie Kolose tries; Hazel Tubic pen, con)