Bay of Plenty take JHU19s crown in dramatic finale

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Campbell Burnes     15 Sep 2018     Getty Images

It was an epic conclusion to a tremendous week of rugby at Taupo’s Owen Delany Park and Bay of Plenty’s victory means that province is the fifth different winner of the Premiership division in five years.

Canterbury led 13-8 at the break but scored just three tries to five in the final analysis, with Fergus Burke adding 15 points with the boot. But the red and blacks had drawn level at 30-all after a late Conor McManus try until Suemai’s heroics.

Bay of Plenty, top qualifier from the Chiefs region coming into the tournament, was in imperious form throughout and capped it with the 35-30 result.  

Fullback Kaleb Trask, called up from the Steamers Mitre 10 Cup campaign, scored two tries and kicked four goals, which was sufficient for him to break the loose forward stronghold on the DJ Graham Award as tournament MVP. Trask was also the top scorer in the tournament with 54 points, which included four tries.

The results signals that the Bay of Plenty union is doing a lot right with its academy system and talent identification.

Waikato, 2016 Premiership champion, won the Championship final and the Sir Michael Jones Trophy with a clearcut 30-5 victory over first-time finalist Otago. Led by a brace to left wing Siave Seti, who finished equal top tryscorer with five, Waikato actually built its dominance on its staunch defence.

In the other playoffs, Auckland A made a stirring comeback to secure fifth position with a 35-31 win over Tasman, while Hawke’s Bay took seventh, downing Taranaki 40-13.
North Harbour, coached by former All Black Steven Bates, beat Wellington 21-10 for third, with first five Jack Heighton nabbing 16 points, including a try.

Three tries to wing Heremaia Murray and a tremendous display off the bench by five-eighths Faalae Peni saw Counties Manukau home in 11th place to the tune of 29-24 over Southland.

Auckland Development defeated Northland 59-14 for 13th, while Manawatu consigned the Heartland XV to last place with a 24-12 win.

The three match days again proved successful for almost 400 of the country’s top young players. Six All Blacks, including Rieko Ioane, have played in the event since 2014.

For full tournament results, visit:

Day three results:

Premiership (Graham Mourie Cup) final (1-2):

Bay of Plenty 35 (Kaleb Trask 2, Cole Forbes, Kohan Herbert, Jayjay Suemai tries; Trask 2 con, 2 pen) Canterbury 30 (Finlay Brewis, Cullen Grace, Conor McManus tries; Fergus Burke 3 con, 3 pen) HT: 13-8 Canterbury

North Harbour 21 (Thomas Barham, Jack Heighton tries; Heighton con, 3 pen) Wellington 10 (Shamus Langton, Albert Polu tries) HT: 13-5 Wellington

5-6: Auckland A 35 (Lesinali Faleafa, Cameron Finefeuiaki, Junior Matautia, Oliver Shepherd, Thomas Strachan tries; Strachan 5 con) Tasman 31 (Josh McPherson 2, Joe Taylor tries, penalty try; McPherson 3 con, pen)

7-8: Hawke’s Bay 40 (Lincoln McClutchie 2, Folau Fakatava, Lolani Faleiva, Dan Sharplin, Danny Toala tries; McClutchie 4 con, Toala con) Taranaki 13 (Tevita Faukafa, Parris Faapulou tries; Austin Brown pen)

Championship (Sir Michael Jones Trophy) final (9-10):
Waikato 30 (Siave Seti 2, Jack McConnell, James Thompson, BJ Lima tries; Raiki Willison con, pen) Otago 5 (Harrison Boyle try) HT: 17-5 Waikato

11-12: Counties Manukau 29 (Heremaia Murray 3, Nathan Green, Faalae Peni tries; Peni 2 con) Southland 24 (Ben Paulin, Kalani Elder, Henry Earland tries; Devon McLeod 3 con, pen) HT: 7-5 Southland

13-14: Auckland Development 59 (John Latu 2, Simon Fauoo, Samuela Fihaki, Josefa Kolinisau, Mordecai Pulu, Danny Silivelio, Viliami Sipa, Josh Wheeler tries; Sipa 7 con)
Northland 14 (Nikau Graham, Rhys Shadbolt tries; Graham 2 con)

15-16: Manawatu 24 (Trevahn Ta’ufo’ou 2, Awatere Kiwara, Griffin Culver tries; Jayde Falcon 2 con) Heartland 12 (Te Huia Kutia, Ioelu Leo Leo tries; Joel Hands con)