10 April 2023
The third and final day of the NZRL National 9s Tournament kicked off with the 18s boys’ semi-final clash between the North and South.
Canterbury was first to put points on the board with a left edge overlap putting Ezekiel Petelo-Paulo over for their first four-pointer.
Costly Northland errors gifted Canterbury more attacking possession as the Cantabrians quickly answered back with another try and an eight-point leading heading into the break.
It was all the Southerners as they struck again seconds into the half off the back of another Northland error extending their lead.
Canterbury dotted down three consecutive tries with momentum on their side, but a late consolation try to Northland wasn’t enough as Canterbury advanced to the final with a 26-4 victory.
Auckland faced the Capital in the second boy’s semi-final shortly after.
With accurate kicking and excellent pace, a strong start by the Auckland side saw them head to the sheds with a 10-0 lead at halftime. Wellington fought hard to come back in the second half with two well-earned tries and a conversion, narrowly putting them ahead 12-10.
In a last-minute upset, Auckland utilised their swift right edge again to score and secure their place in the final with a 14-12 victory.
Auckland will face Canterbury in the 18s Boys final live at 1:30pm.
Top of the table Auckland White were first to mount points against Waikato in the first girls’ 18s semi-final.
A line break from Auckland saw centre Gillian Fa’aumu run 100m downfield to score Auckland’s second try moments after.
Waikato answered back with a lovely overlap on their right edge, scoring their first points of the day, and bringing the halftime deficit back to within one try.
Waikato put themselves back into good attacking position after barging runs from their middle forwards, but a costly error saw a try go begging. Auckland bounced back, going over their third shortly after shifting momentum back in their favour.
Waikato’s effort never wavered, getting themselves another four-pointer right before the final whistle; however it wasn’t to be as Auckland White head to the final with a 12-8 victory.
The second girls’ semi-final clash was a battle of the ’09 as Auckland Red and Blue faced off.
The match showcased great physicality and ball play between the two girls’ teams. However, it was Auckland Red that came out firing, scoring three unanswered tries within the first half. Following the break, Auckland Blue did well to score but were dominated by the Red side, who took the win 18-4, booking them a spot in the girls’ grand final.
Auckland will face off against one another in the National 18s Girl’s final at 2:00pm today.
Boys 18s FINAL Canterbury v Auckland 1:30pm
Girls 18s FINAL Auckland Red v Auckland White 2:00pm