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Metro Division 1 Update
A single bonus point was the difference between agony and ecstasy for teams vying for the final spot in the Metro Division One Trophy semi finals. New Brighton, despite losing to Christchurch on Saturday, claimed the vital point that kept Burnside at bay by finishing within seven points.
Burnside did all they could by gaining the five-try bonus in their 38-15 win against Sydenham.
High School Old Boys secured the top spot by overcoming a five-point deficit to beat University 25-21 in an enthralling clash at Ilam.
The Cup holders will play New Brighton - their conquerors in the previous round - in one semi final, while Christchurch, who are trying for three successive championships, will tackle University in the other.
New Brightoncame within a whisker of crashing out of contention in an ugly game at Rawhiti. Early penalties were traded by David Cattermole and Matt Thatcher, but in the set pieces, especially in the scrums, Christchurch were totally dominant. However, New Brighton wing Dayne Wipou’s 60th minute try proved crucial.
Coach Steve Crotty said losing to Burnside put his side on the back foot, and made last week’s match against Old Boys a must-win.
“That game certainly set us up for the top four,” he said. Unforced errors against Christchurch made for a nerve-racking 80 minutes, Crotty said. “I was confident before the game we’d play well, but silly mistakes in the first half cost us.”
A sickening clash of heads on Saturday between locks Dan Karena and Aaron Williams has ruled both out of the semi final.
“They’re critical to our lineout and will be tough to replace. We’ll be asking a couple of guys to step up, and I’m confident they’ll do the job,” Crotty said
The players will also have the confidence of being the only team to have beaten Old Boys in the Trophy round.
“I suppose in the guys’ minds, there’s not that fear, even though they are a very good side. We were close to beating them in the first round as well.
“On our day, if we do things properly, I think we can beat them.”
Belfast scored a last-gasp try to pip Linwood and qualify top of the Plate section, while Marist-Albion’s captain Rowan O’Gorman scored two tries in the third quarter to help his team to a three-point win over Lincoln University.
Sumner comfortably won the bottom-of-the-table clash against win-less Shirley.
Check out the weekly editorial on Metro division one rugby, which is published under the Metro tab of the CRFU website each Sunday around 3pm.
Visit www.crfu.co.nz/main/index.cfm/1,649,0,40,html/Game-Day to have a read.
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