Our Premier Men have beaten Oriental-Rongotai in the opening round of the Jubilee Cup finals series to earn a second week bye with automatic qualification for the semi finals (aka preliminary finals under the new format).
The game could not have been more challenging, with our side playing with 14 men for 30 minutes with three players yellow carded at various points of the match.
The game started strongly for the Red Machine, enjoying long periods of territory and possession but couldn't turn that dominance into tries. They took a 6-3 lead into the half time break.
Starting the second half with 14 men, Ories looked like they would score the first try of the game quickly and crossed the line after a long range effort only for centre Ben Tuiatua to steal the ball as their winger went to ground it - arguably the play of the game (video below).
They weathered the challenge and eventually struck with a try to Tyrone Thompson at the 50 minute mark.
Ories quickly replied with a penalty, before Willie Schutz finished a break from Ryan Setefano to score in the corner. At 18-6 with 14 minutes to play, it looked like the momentum had shifted. It hadn't!
Another yellow card with eight minutes to play gave Ories another opportunity to get back in the game and they seized it, scoring a try to narrow the margin to 18-13 with four minutes to play. After a frantic final few minutes a penalty was awarded to MSP on halfway, kicked into touch and the game was over.
Marist St Pats will host a semi final against an opponent to be determined by next week's round of games.
Elsewhere, our Premier 2 side finished their round robin with a 33-27 win over Ories; the will play HOBM in a quarter final next weekend. The Colts fought hard to come back from a 0-21 deficit before falling to Petone by 31-41 in their semi final.
The Internationals had their five game win streak snapped with a loss to OBU by 15-24 and the Under 85s lost to Poneke by 19-27.