Hutt Old Boys Marist retained the New Zealand Marist Spillane Cup title with a resolute defensive effort in the weekend's final on home soil at the Hutt Recreation Ground against Christchurch Marist Albion.
HOBM turned sizzling attack seen in Saturday's 50-19 win over Auckland Marist to backs-to-the-wall defence to beat Marist Albion 30-7 in the final.
The Eagles held off wave after wave of Marist Albion attack inside their 22 for virtually the entire third quarter with HOBM holding a 23-7 lead. The visitors launched a 15-minute assault at their try line but their advances were kept in check, which won them the game.
Breaking out of their territory in the fourth quarter, returning first five-eighth and former Wairarapa-Bush and Heartland Championship leading points scorer Glenn Walters sliced through for a converted try and HOBM could begin celebrating their fifth straight Spillane Cup win.
Captain for the weekend and centre Ope Peleseuma said it was a great way to start the season for his side. "We're really happy with this win, it's a great way to start the season and was a good hit-out for the boys," he said.
Players to stand out for HOBM included blindside flanker James Wall, who scored the opening try of the final, both props Wayne Aquila and Otto Rasch, No. 8 Lise Soloa and first five-eighth and sharpshooter Glenn Walters.
Saturday's win over Auckland Marist was a different story for HOBM, who were fast out of the blocks, scoring two tries off lineouts and racing to a 17-0 lead. Auckland Marist replied, but HOBM then went on a 33-point scoring spree with replacement first five-eighth Chase Tiatia crossing for a second half hat-trick.
Sunday's playoff for third and fourth between Auckland Marist and Tukapa was won by Auckland 48-22 but the run of play was much closer than that.
Wellington's Marist St.Pat's, re-joining the competition after a year's absence, won the division 2 Ham Cumming final in beating Hastings Rugby and Sports 33-17.MSP had led 28-3 at one point.
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