The men from the capital prevailed after a slow start at Westpac Stadium, which saw Northland shoot out to a 14-3 lead through tries to Jordan Hyland and Solomon Alaimalo. However, long periods of possession in the first half meant they were able to claw back the lead by halftime with a try to impressive youngster Thomas Umaga-Jensen and some accurate goal kicking by Jackson Garden-Bachop.
Unfortunately for Northland, the second half was one way traffic as the home team hit their straps. Trent Renata, Tolu Fahamokioa and Regan Verney all scored as well as a double to birthday boy Wes Goosen to take the game out of reach, all Northland could manage in reply was a try to Sam Nock.
Bay of Plenty didn’t disappoint a packed Tauranga Domain, beating Otago 48-31 in windy conditions. Otago looked to have stayed in touch to trail 15-11 just before the break, however a try to Lalakai Foketi pushed the hosts out to a decent lead right on the hooter.
It was Foketi’s second of the match, and Joe Webber matched his effort with a brilliant try in the second half. Tries to big Henry Stowers and Terrence Hepetema literally broke the back of the visitors, and a penalty try on the last play of the game pushed the score out even further.
However, Otago did provide a fair share of excitement in the match – All Black Sevens star Vilimoni Koroi’s second half try one of the best you’ll see this year.
Wellington will go into the final as heavy favourites, not only having home ground advantage but also having scored a bonus point try in the last 18 matches they’ve played.
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