Wellington turned it on for the first round of Premier rugby this weekend with games played in balmy conditions.
Our Premier Women were first to kick off and sounded a warning shot to the competition with a historic victory over perennial contenders Northern United. The 41-5 win was the first time the team had beaten Norths since re-entering the competition in 2016.
A tight first half saw the side take a 10-0 lead at the half time break before the floodgates opened in the second. Debutants Georgia Daals (3) and Thamsyn Newton (2) scored five tries between them while Ana Afuie had two tries of her own.
The Swindale Shield opener was a much tighter affair with last years Jubilee Cup finalists engaged in an arm wrestle throughout the match. First half tries to Tom Martin and Tui Tuiatua saw the home side take a 14-5 lead into the half time break.
A sloppy second half lineout meant the Red Machine could not capitalise on opportunities to extend the lead and instead Tawa surged ahead to take the lead by 14-21 with 10 minutes to play. James Proctor narrowed the gap with a penalty with seven minutes on the clock, but down 17-21, there was work to be done.
After relentless attacks on the Tawa line, a midfield scrum set up what could be the last roll of the dice. Step up Ken Kapeli who had entered the game off the bench about 15 minutes earlier. Keelan Whitman fed the ball off the back of the scrum to Ken, whose dummy and sidestep saw him dash over the line to the delight of the Evans Bay faithful. Final score 24-21 to Marist St Pats.