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Chiefs Manawa to face Matat in Super Rugby Aupiki final after beating Hurricanes Poua


Staff member
Dec 16, 2021
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At North Harbour Stadium, Auckland: Chiefs Manawa 43 (Carla Hohepa, Tenika Willison 2, Luka Connor, Kennedy Simon, Mererangi Paul tries, Willison 5 con, Hazel Tubic pen) Hurricanes Poua 21 (Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, Kaipo Olsen-Baker, Layla Sae tries, Isabella Waterman 3 con) HT: 21-14
Chiefs Manawa will host Matat in the Super Rugby Aupiki final in Hamilton next Saturday after beating Hurricanes Poua 43-21 in their semifinal.

Fullback Tenika Willison had a brace and five conversions to finish with 20 points for the Chiefs, who have now won all seven of their matches since this competition started last year.

They werent quite as devastating on Sunday as they were at times in the round-robin, but the final result never really felt like being in doubt once they took the lead inside three minutes at Aucklands North Harbour Stadium.

Matat advance to the Super Rugby Aupiki final on the back of a hatrick from Chey Robins-Reti.

The Hurricanes did briefly draw level and pulled within seven points on two more occasions after that, but the skill deficit between the two teams was evident throughout.

* Matat edge Blues for second time this season to qualify for Super Rugby Aupiki final
* Part-time Super Rugby Aupiki 2023 'harder' than 2022 season in Covid-19 bubble
* Black Ferns coach Allan Bunting says looming threat of NRLW 'definitely' a concern
* Black Fern Ayesha Leti-I'iga's Rugby World Cup final secret: She forgot one of her boots

Matat edged the Blues by three points, 26-23, in the earlier semifinal, but will have their work cut out to prevent the Chiefs from completing a perfect campaign in next weekends decider.

It didnt take long for the Chiefs to get on the board in their semifinal, as centre Carla Hohepa cut through after the Hurricanes initially did well to push back on a lineout drive.

They werent ahead for long however, as Poua hooker Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate drove over following a series of pick-and-goes.

It was clear early on that the Chiefs were going to be able to exert some dominance at set-piece time and they used a five-metre scrum as a platform for their second try.

The ball went left to Hohepa who spun through one tackle and held off another before setting Willison up to restore their advantage.

Hooker Luka Connor then scored her sixth try of the season from a lineout drive to put the Chiefs 14 points to the good after 20 minutes.

The Hurricanes needed to stem the flow before halftime and they went one better closing the margin to seven when Kaipo Olsen-Baker dove over down the left, three minutes after the hooter.

As the teams emerged from the halftime break, a lot rested on which team would score next and it turned out to be the Chiefs from a scrum they won off the back of a lineout drive.

Captain Kennedy Simon did the honours from the rear of the pack, eventually getting the ball down after Olsen-Baker did well to deny her initially.

The Hurricanes hit back in the 55th minute, when Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali picked out Layla Sae with a pinpoint kick to the left corner and once Isabella Waterman kicked her third conversion of the evening, the gap was back to seven points.

But just when the door was open for them to go again and set up a mouthwatering finish, the Chiefs responded in kind, with Mererangi Paul wriggling free down the right and finding Willison on her inside.

Paul then added a try of her own and Hazel Tubic slotted a penalty to push the final margin out to 22 points.

The big moment​

Willisons try for the Chiefs midway through the second half came less than five minutes after the Hurricanes had pulled within seven and gave them a healthy buffer heading into the final 20.

Match rating​

7/10: This semifinal wasnt a back-and-forth affair like the first one, but it was a closer contest than the round-robin meeting between these two teams, which finished with the Chiefs scoring 48 unanswered points.


Kennedy Simon is back to her best after being hampered by injury during the Black Ferns Rugby World Cup campaign last year and made several impressive runs as well as scoring a try at a crucial point.

The big picture​

Chiefs Manawa v Matat. FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton at 2.05pm on Saturday. Can the South Islanders halt the hosts winning run? Theyve gone the closest so far, losing by eight last week and by just two in 2022.

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