That's a first by Tasman since 2007 and a demonstration of how significant their form has been throughout the campaign. They will host Auckland in Blenheim. Canterbury made a poor start but showed the expected tenacity to secure a playoffs berth against Wellington who came home strong against Waikato.
In the Championship, Bay of Plenty finished two points clear of Hawke's Bay to secure top spot and will host Manawatu while Hawke's Bay will host Otago.
Friday 18th, 7.35pm – Bay of Plenty v Manawatu (Rotorua)
Saturday 19th, 2.05pm – Tasman v Auckland (Blenheim)
Saturday 19th, 4.35pm – Hawke’s Bay v Otago
Saturday 19th, 7.05pm – Wellington v Canterbury
Round 10 Results:
Southland 12 Bay of Plenty 22
Going to the break 12-5 up Southland had good reward having scored two tries to one in a difficult breeze in Invercargill. But once again it was the visitors who showed the greater stamina to produce three second half tries, two close-quarter efforts and the third on the end of a backline movement for Emoni Narawa to cross. Home hooker Greg Pleasants-Tate's nose for a try showed out again as Southland ended the season with a win to their credit and the emergence of quality talent like second five-eighths Raymond Nu'u. But it was all credit to Bay of Plenty who are hotly contesting the right to promotion to the Premiership.
Scorers: Southland 12 (Matthew James, Greg Pleasants-Tate tries; Marty McKenzie con) Bay of Plenty 22 (Mitch Karpik, Emoni Narawa, Te Aihe Toma, Tom Franklin tries; Toma con). HT: 12-5
It took into the second half before Auckland could make a significant impression on the scoreboard after Taranaki enjoyed a halftime lead thanks to hooker Ricky Riccitelli's try on the end of a big home team maul. But when Auckland struck they did by utilising some outstanding handling skills in midfield before flanker Adrian Choat capped a good movement with a try. Taranaki were not able to take advantage of flanker Dalton Papalii's sin-binning and when first five-eighths Harry Plummer landed a 52m penalty goal, Auckland gained valuable breathing space for the last 10 minutes of the game. Papalii did have the final say, picking off a blindside kick by home first five-eighths Stephen Perofeta and bursting ahead before passing on to Salesi Rayasi who finished off the try. They still had time to claim a four-try bonus point when Jordan Trainor scored in injury time.
Scorers: Taranaki 11 (Ricky Riccitelli try; Stephen Perofeta 2 pen) Auckland 35 (Dalton Papalii, Adrian Choat, Salesi Rayasi, Jordan Trainor tries; Harry Plummer con, 3 pen; Daniel Kirkpatrick 2 con). HT: 11-8
Alex Nankivell cut some merry capers in the Tasman midfield to cause all manner of problems for the home team. Their failure to prevent him playing the ball after being tackled open up a fine try for Sione Havili. But then he was on the end of a head high tackle, and yellow card for Richard Kelly, but from the penalty Leicester Faingaanuku was fed an inside ball to score. Then Tima Faingaanuku showed his power to get over in the right corner. Midway through the second half Nankivell then demonstrated his individual skills on a 50m dart to the line. Mitch Hunt had reward for initiating a move and then staying in support to pick up an inside pass. It was typical Tasman play. But if Nankivell was the man for Tasman No 8 Devan Flankers was dynamic for the home side, scoring a try and setting up another.
Scorers: Hawke's Bay 28 (Marino Mikaele-Tu'u, Devan Flanders, Caleb Makene, Jason Long tries; Tiaan Falcon 3 con; Lincoln McClutchie con) Tasman 47 (Leicester Faingaanuku 2, Sione Havili, Tima Faingaanuku, Mitch Hunt, Alex Nankivell, Hugh Roach tries; Hunt 4 con; David Havili 2 con). HT: 14-19
It might not have been the best of seasons for Manawatu but they finished strongly to claim a semifinal berth in the Championship while Counties Manukau were sent packing in relegation. If there is a better catch made from a crosskick to score then flanker Johnny Galloway will be a leading candidate for his superb try. Second five-eighths Ngani Laumape scored another of his specials, a chip ahead and regather, but then had the ignominy of seeing a simple clearing kick three minutes into first half injury time, charged down and the easiest of tries for Liam Fitzsimons. Daymon Leasuasu repeated the dose from another charge down in the second half. First five-eighths Otere Black had his own moment of skill when running a lovely line to score the opening try of the game.
Scorers: Manawatu 33 (Otere Black, Ngani Laumape, Johnny Galloway, Samu Tawake, Ben Werthmuller tries; Black 4 con) Counties Manukau 17 (Liam Fitzsimons, Daymon Leasuasu, Rodney Tongotea tries; Orbyn Leger con). HT: 26-5
Wellington second five-eighths Pepesana Patafilo cut a fast and merry swathe through Waikato's backline to set up hooker Asafo Aumua's first of two tries and then later in the second half he put the foot down again to create an opening and after cutting back inside he slipped the ball for halfback Kemara Hauiti-Parapara to finish things off. Add in similarly spectacular tries from outside backs Vince Aso and Billy Proctor and Wellington are looking in great shape for the playoffs. Waikato came home some well constructed tries of their own especially to Baily Sullivan and Louis Rogers.
Scorers: Wellington 39 (Asafo Aumua 2, Vince Aso, Billy Proctor, Kemara Hauiti-Parapara tries; Jackson Garden-Bachop 4 con, 2 pen) Waikato 21 (Samisoni Taukei'aho, Bailyn Sullivan, Louis Rogers tries; Fletcher Smith 3 con). HT: 25-7
Northland left it until the very last but they avoided the Championship wooden spoon, handing it back to Southland as a result of their 40-10 swamping of Otago. The southerners demonstrated the Ranfurly Shield blues that often afflict sides after losing the prized trophy and there was little of the customary fight from Otago in Whangarei on Sunday. Otago face a big job picking themselves up for next weekend's playoffs while for Northland it is back to the drawing board.
Scorers: Northland 40 (Jordan Hyland 2, Scott Gregory 2, Aorangi Stokes, Matt Matich tries; Jack Debreczeni 5 con) Otago 10 (Henry Purdy, Josh Timu tries). HT: 26-7
The last game of the season, with the added attraction of being the final Ranfurly Shield challenge had fans nervous as North Harbour claimed the lead for the first time in the game, only nine minutes from the end. North Harbour, down 5-17 at the turn, kept chipping back throughout the second half. And looked set for a big upset when Lewis Gjaltema scored. However, two minutes into injury time Harry Allan scored a matchwinner which saw the Shield stay in Christchurch for the summer, while also ending North Harbour's playoff hopes.
Scorers: Canterbury 31 (Braydon Ennor, Josh McKay 2, Harry Allan tries; Brett Cameron 4 con, pen) North Harbour 25 (Osea Qamasea, Mark Telea 2, Lewis Gjaltema tries; Bryn Hall con, pen). HT: 17-5