25 March 2023

In the semi final for the National 20s Ruben Wiki Cup. The Counties Manukau Stingrays met the Akarana Falcons at Navigation Homes stadium in Pukekohe.

The game was a back and forth thriller with Counties Manukau capturing the win 22-28 with a late push in the final minutes.

Akarana started out of the gate firing scoring couples tries early in the fold. However Counties Manukau’s persistent effort and constant pressure would keep them in the game as they would continue to answer back to Akarana’s points.

The game would continue to be an arm wrestle as both teams would complete their sets. The conditions and pressure would eventually get to Akarana as Counties would capitalise on Akaran’s fatigue to scoop up a try to tie the game up 22 all.

Akarana’s mistakes around the halfway line would cost them as Counties would use to get an early shift out the left edge. Quick play the balls and beautiful draw and pass action would see Counties Manukau’s winger Esau Meleisea in for the winning try to book Counties Manukau’s spot in the final against South Island next week.