21/05/17 | 8:18 PM

The Eagles knock off the top dogs


Hutt Old Boys Marist have breathed a bit of life into the Swindale Shield race.  from stuff.co.nz

It’s something of an academic trophy anyway, with the Jubilee Cup still the only one really worth crowing about. But winning the first round of the Wellington club competition counts for a little bit and several sides remain in contention to do so.

Oriental-Rongotai seemed destined to, until Saturday’s 42-13 defeat to HOBM. Ories stay top of the table, but by just a point from Old Boys-University and a chasing pack that includes Wainuiomata and Northern United.

HOBM themselves are only five competition points adrift of Ories now, in fifth place, with two rounds to play.

Hutt Old Boys Marist 42 (Opetera Peleseumea 2, Joe Apikatoa, Jared Woodward, TasinFidow tries; Sheridan Rangihuna 4 con, 3 pen) Oriental-Rongotai 13 (Victor Groom, Tukia Purcell tries; Alex Ropeti pen). HT: 22-8.

Best and fairest: 3 points: Joe Apikotoa (HOBM tprop); 2 points: Brandyn Laursen (HOBM second-five); 1 point: Tukia Purcell (Ories flanker)

What happened: Hutt Old Boys Marist got off to a great start, when they found space down the touchline to score in the opening minutes.

Oriental-Rongotai quickly responded with a try off a driving maul.

However, HOBM regrouped and scored two further tries and a penalty to lead 22-8 at the break.

The home side were quick off the mark in the second-half, after converting an early penalty.

However, Ories refused to give in and scored a try of their own when flanker Tukia Purcell fended off defenders before scoring in the corner.

HOBM kept their composure and issued the knockout blow midway through the second half. Off a lineout drive, Jared Woodward burrowed under to seal the win.

Despite their comfortable lead, HOBM did not lose their focus. They maintained excellent defence and conceded few line breaks. Concerted pressure led to a further try to Opetera Peleseuma to round off a great performance.

The big play: With Ories threatening a comeback, a well-taken lineout drive led to Jared Woodward’s try.

Who stood out: For Ories, Paulo Aukuso was dangerous with ball-in-hand. Tukia Purcell put in some big hits and ran strongly.

For HOBM, Brandyn Laursen busted the line on regular occasions, while Jared Woodward was busy in the tight and ran strongly. However, it is hard to go past tighthead prop Joe Apikotoa, who was powerful on attack and tough on defence.

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