Defending champions New Plymouth Old Boys will meet Southern while Tukapa face Coastal in next week’s premier club rugby semifinals after the second round was completed on Saturday.
Third placed Southern needed to get more competition points against Old Boys than Coastal did against Inglewood if they were to avoid a return trip to Vogeltown Park next Saturday.
They failed to do that, however, losing 39-26 while Coastal defeated Inglewood 42-24.
Despite the loss, Southern might not be too unhappy with some areas of their game as they managed to put Old Boys under pressure as well as make a number of telling line breaks.
Their biggest problem was their lineout and their discipline.
Several times they got themselves close to the Old Boys line only to cough up the ball because their lineout was not in sync.
They also suffered from losing two players to yellow cards. The first certainly proved costly after No 8 Trent Pickering was sent to the sin bin for dangerous rucking.
Old Boys took full toll of their numerical advantage, scoring three quick tries to build-up a 21-0 lead.
To their credit Southern came back and scored a good try of their own while they were down to 14 players and were back into the match when they crossed for a second time.
They failed to start the second half well, however, as they put themselves under needless pressure with silly mistakes.
While they went behind 31-12, they continued to show some good attack and narrowed the margin to 10 points at one stage before Old Boys captain Liam McBride scored in the corner with time almost up.
There were a number of strong performances from the victors, none better than prop Mitchell O’Neill who scored two tries and carried the ball impressively before he was forced off with a shoulder injury.
Southern’s best player was probably centre and captain Jackson Ormond who caused the Old Boys defence problems when he was afforded some space.
Coastal will head into their semifinal in confident mood after they proved too good for Inglewood at the TET Stadium.
Facing a team with nothing to lose, Coastal coach Aaron Fisher was a bit wary his side might get sucked into playing a loose game against Inglewood.
However, he was delighted that they managed to keep their structure and play how they wanted to play.
Fisher said a major reason for that was the work of first five-eighth Emmett Hurley who controlled play well and gave Coastal plenty of direction. Others to impress were lock Daniel Rae and hooker Sam Lawn.
Inglewood co-coach Cole Brown conceded their opponents won the breakdown battle and scored some good tries.
Brown said centre Ben Leng and first fiive-eighth Telly Hemopo were their best players.
Tukapa had a hard time against Spotswood United before they eventually won 37-29 at Sanders Park.
Spotswood United actually took the lead late in the match before a couple of errors led to two late tries to Tukapa.
Tukapa co-coach Matt Stone conceded they will have to improve on that performance if they are going to make it through to the final.
After being the form team in recent weeks, Tukapa failed to shut some of Spotswood United’s best players down.
Nevertheless, there was still a lot of good work done by the likes of lock Leighton Price and second five-eighth Isaia Tuifua.
Spotswood United’s best players were prop Asaeli Sorovaki, wing Manasa Mataele and No 8 Toa Halafihi.
Clifton ended their season on a high, beating Stratford 34-31 at Tikorangi.
The home side got out to a 19-0 lead at one stage before Stratford came back and led 31-19 with 20 minutes to play.
Beaudein Waaka made a big difference when he came on at fullback as Clifton stormed home to win through a late penalty to Matt McKenzie.
Andrew Tonks, Matt White and Dane Kendall, who was playing his last game for Clifton, all had strong matches.
Stratford’s best were captain Matthew Kissick, first five-eighth Leoni Nawai and lock Jack Jordan.
At a glance
NPOB 39 Southern 24
Coastal 42 Inglewood 24
Tukapa 37 Spotswood Utd 29
Clifton 34 Stratford 31