Semifinalists confirmed in the Bunnings NPC

GettyImages 1351616393

In the Premiership, Hawke's Bay will play Tasman while Waikato will host Canterbury and in the Championship Taranaki will host Southland and Manawatu will play Otago.

 

Results from the last round of regular season play were:

 

Bay of Plenty 22 Northland 14

 

Held up as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, Bay of Plenty and Northland went into their rescheduled round eight game in Rotorua on Wednesday each looking for wins to secure semifinal berths. Bay of Plenty wasted no time with wing Peni Lasaqa scoring before three minutes had passed. Former All Blacks hooker Nathan Harris looked to have scored their second in the 17th minute but a double movement was ruled. Northland lost hooker Blake Hohaia to the sin-bin that allowed BOP to build a head of steam and provide Lasaqa with his second try. Hohaia made it up when his time was completed by scoring Northland's first try. Bay of Plenty lost replacement Cassius Misa for a head-high tackle on wing Jone Macilai but it didn't curtail the home team as lock Manaaki Selby-Rickit drove over for a try from a maul heading into the final quarter and three minutes later Harris wasn't to be denied a second time from a driving ruck. Northland missed a chance with a ball was knocked from flanker Johan Mau'u's hands when he dived for the line but in injury time they unleashed a fine maul of their own for replacement Justin Davies to score.

 

Bay of Plenty 22 (Peni Lasaqa 2, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Nathan Harris tries; Lucas Cashmore con) Northland 14 (Blake Hohaia, Justin Davies tries; Rivez Reihana con; Dan Hawkins con). HT: 10-7

 

 

Waikato 27 Otago 25

 

Otago looked to the manner born when working the ball around in the wet in Rotorua during the first quarter. A well-placed grubber kick from first five-eighths Josh Ioane was covered perfectly by wing Freedom Vaha'akolo to score but the loss of flanker Samuel Fischli to a red card for a shoulder charge allowed Waikato an opening, and they took it, eventually. Penalty goals were exchanged, a block-busting Waikato scrum was unleashed and then Otago took their eye off the ball at a five-metre penalty, halfback Rhys Marshall took a tap and fed lock James Thompson over for a try in injury time. And with first five-eighths D'Angelo Leuila converting from the sideline ,Waikato had a 13-11 lead. Otago wing Vilimoni Koroi went on a crossfield mission seven minutes into the second half and Vaha'akolo dived over millimetres from the sideline for his second try. Waikato made the most of a burst from the base of the ruck by halfback Cortez Ratima and it was fullback Ryan Tongia who ran the try in by the posts. But moments later midfielder Matt Faddes was too classy in getting over to regain the lead. However, there was still some topsy-turvy and it went Waikato's way with ridiculous ease after Otago conceded a free-kick for not attempting a heel at a scrum. Waikato ordered another scrum, secured the ball and ran off Leuila's run at the line with lock James Tucker scoring the matchwinner.

 

Waikato 27 (James Thompson, Ryan Tongia, James Tucker tries; D'Angelo Leuila 3 con, 2 pen) Otago 25 (Freedom Vaha'akolo 2, Matt Faddes tries; Josh Ioane 2 con, 2 pen). HT: 13-11

 

 

Tasman 34 Wellington 22

 

Plenty of pent-up frustration from earlier rounds of the competition was unleashed by Tasman at Lansdowne Park in Blenheim as they took Wellington apart in a first quarter roller derby. Lineout maul tries to hooker Quentin MacDonald and flanker Jacob Norris were followed by an intercept effort by wing Leicester Fainga'anuku and capped by centre Levi Aumua cashing in on a strong midfield break by second five-eighths Alex Nankiville to take Tasman to a 24-0 lead in as many minutes. Wellington finally broke its duck with flanker Taine Plumtree in support to score after centre Billy Proctor cleared off down the sideline. But it couldn't stop Tasman taking a 27-7 lead to the turn. Wellington mounted a second half comeback with first five-eighths Jackson Garden-Bachop crossing. However, they couldn't repeat until the 73rd minute when replacement hooker Tyrone Thompson crossed from a lineout maul. Within striking distance they tried everything to capitalise in the final moments but a Garden-Bachop chip out from the line went straight to flanker Anton Segner who put the issue beyond doubt.

 

Tasman 34 (Quentin MacDonald, Jacob Norris, Leicester Fainga'anuku, Levi Aumua, Anton Segner tries; Mitch Hunt 3 con, pen) Wellington 22 (Taine Plumtree, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Tyrone Thompson tries; Aidan Morgan 2 con, pen). HT: 27-7

 

 

Canterbury 40 Bay of Plenty 28

 

Canterbury was another side to start in business-like mood with fullback Chay Fihaki making the point with the first try two minutes into the contest. It was looking ominous when second five-eighths Dallas McLeod scored from a long pass from the base of a ruck by halfback Mitchell Drummond. But Bay of Plenty found their mojo and a similar long pass from halfback Te Teori Tahuriorangi put wing Leroy Carter over in the corner before 10 minutes had ticked over. But then, on the back of a stirring run to the goalmouth by lock Manaaki Selby-Rickit, BOP kicked a penalty goal and then scored after Tahuriorangi got a foot to a goalline scrum pass which rebounded for flanker Viveni Lasaqa to score and claim the lead. McLeod regained the lead when punching through the BOP defence. And just before the break wing Waisake Naholo scored after Fihaki gave him room with a backhand flick. But first five-eighths Lucas Cashmore showed his skill close to the line to put BOP back in front. Fihaki's class opened up the chance for Naholo to run in a try that turned the lead over again, and this time, once first five-eighths Fergus Burke landed two penalty goals, and the man of the moment Fihaki landed one from 55m the issue was finally resolved in Canterbury's favour.

 

Canterbury 40 (Chay Fihaki, Dallas McLeod 2, Waisake Naholo 2 tries; Fergus Burke 3 con, 2 pen; Fihaki pen) Bay of Plenty 28 (Leroy Carter, Viveni Lasaqa, Lucas Cashmore tries; Cashmore 2 con, 3 pen). HT: 24-21

 

 

Taranaki 24 Southland 10

 

Already assured of a semifinal berth, and going up against the same opposition, Southland scored first in Inglewood when No8 Charles Alaimalo got over between the posts five minutes into the action. But a Southland mistake around the 28th minute mark, when a lineout throw went too long, finally produced a try for the home wing Kini Naholo. Scores were tied 10-10 at the break but when first five-eighths Stephen Perofeta ran a long kick back, he stepped to open a huge door, raced through it and then found wing Jacob Ratumaitaivuki-Kneepkens on hand to run in the try. There was an air of the opportunist around what proved the match-winning try when Southland made a mistake on attack only to have the ball bounce to allow Vereniki Tikoisolomone to toe the ball ahead, get the favourable bounce and have too much speed to run away and score beneath the posts. And with no more scoring they are set to do it all again next week.

 

Taranaki 24 (Kini Naholo, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, Vereniki Tikoisolomone tries; Stephen Perofeta 3 con, pen) Southland 10 (Charles Alaimalo try; Greg Dyer con, pen). HT: 10-10