Sevens star Cama on fire as COB beat Te Kawau
College Old Boys might put their supporters through palpitations but they always get there.
A resurgent Te Kawau had the cheek to steal the lead at 27-26 with seven minutes left at FMG Stadium on Saturday but there was always the nagging thought that COB were expert escapologists.
And so it proved. They had done the Houdini to beat Te Kawau and Varsity and with a lot of help from one of the world's best sevens evaders, Junior Tomasi Cama, they not only won but deprived the Real Blokes of a bonus point.
Yes, it was that crackerjack Cama who slotted a dropped goal to seal it.
COB continually made huge clean breaks but made a truckload of handling errors to keep Te Kawau interested. By contrast, Te Kawau had way fewer chances but took most of theirs.
If Kia Toa fancy their semifinal chances next week, they'll have to collar Cama because Te Kawau barely laid a hand on him.
"It was a good achievement," Cama said.
"It's always hard to get up each week and have a win.
"Those mistakes - we can't afford to do that next week."
COB, unbeaten after 16 wins on the field, have now locked away the Jubilee Cup, Centennial Shield and Wallace Challenge Cup for the season. Only the Hankins Shield lies outstanding.
"That's the most important one," Cama said. "What we've done until now is history. Now it's next week or the final."
Te Kawau will earn respect from Varsity when they clash in next Saturday's semifinal. Te Kawau were without the injured Dan FitzGerald but their scrum was strong, prop David Te Moana was all power and surged over for two of their three tries. No 8 Tepasu Thomas was also a threat and first five-eighth Logan Taylor ran the game ably.
Te Kawau slowed down much of COB's ball and zapped to an early 10-0 lead. But that only goaded COB into action with Turbos second five-eighth Matenga Baker slicing clean through for the first of his three tries.
They carved up Te Kawau in midfield - Baker, David Walker, Karl Bryson, Cyrus Baker - but the finishing, with woolly passes, was terrible, usually with only a man to beat. Then first-five Brad Truesdale lost his goal-kicking swing and Te Kawau stayed in touch.
It became a thriller, Te Kawau a mauling threat to come back from 21-13 down, then from 26-20 down.
COB's defence largely shut down the Te Kawau backs but almost every Cobbler had butterfingers except industrious wing Cyrus Baker, the former NZ Schools player.
At FMG Stadium Stadium: COB 36 (Matenga Baker 3, Karl Bryson, Tomasi Cama, tries; Brad Truesdale 3, K Bryson, cons; Cama dg) Te Kawau 27 (David Te Moana 2, Kenny Stewart, tries; Logan Taylor 3 con, 2 pen) HT 14-13. Varsity 32 Kia Toa 8 They are doing it again are Varsity, getting all pumped with the smell of the playoffs in their blue nostrils. Just imagine how they would go with their five key injured players.
They barely let Kias into this game despite leading only 12-3 after a half of penalty kicks.
Kia Toa simply did not win enough ball so probable Turbo Jason Emery at first-five had few chances. He made a few nice breaks, passed well and made one try-saving tackle.
Varsity dominated territory and possession with Kias obviously keeping their powder dry for COB in the semifinals.
The Varsity forwards led by Turbos No 8 James Oliver, Callum Gibbins and Rob Foreman, shunted Kias in mauls or drove through them and gave lively halfback Aaron Fergus good ball. Tom Hughes controlled the front of the lineout where Kias lost most of theirs.
Other heroes were Chris Prentice, Jared Brock and Jake Brown. Hamish Northcott ran hard and backed up well from second-five in a class display.
Kias No 8 Moeaki Samita tried hard in a beaten pack as did lock Fraser Stone in patches but the frustration turned him angry. At fullback, Whitiaua Black was composed under the high ball. They bombed a late try when they lost the ball.
Varsity 32 (Aaron Fergus 2, Callum Gibbins tries; Clayton Stewart con, 4 pen; Sam Blatchford pen) Kia Toa 8 (Dan Squire try; Jason Emery pen), HT 12-3.
Feilding OB-Oroua 49 Freyberg 17
Lucky for Freyberg, the Stags squandered 14 potential points from conversions, even if many of their nine tries were scored out wide.
This was a strange game with nothing hanging on it. They will play each other again next Saturday. FOB-Oroua scored two early tries but Freys came back with two of their own and were in the game.
It opened up in the second spell. The Freys forwards didn't like being carted around the field and the fitter Stags ran them off their feet.
Playing nice rugby, FOB-Oroua found a lot of holes and four tries went to the wings after the forwards had done their graft.
Tries were deliberately being shared around and they butchered a few more as Freyberg flagged in the sun at Johnston Park. The Stags Bs wrapped up the senior second competition with a 61-10 win over Freyberg.
At Johnston Park: FOB-Oroua 49 (Dan Butters 2, Ben Aiken 2, Daniel Harper, Jeremy Waitoa, Sam Aupouri, Daniel Meehan, Paora Rakatau tries; Rakatau con, Potene Paewai con) Freyberg 17 (Carter Hirini, Viliame Fakava, Scott Haumaha, tries; Taha Wihongi con) HT 17-12.
Feilding 35 Linton Army 12
Linton Army finished last and thus did not qualify for the bottom four to contest the Val Holland Trophy semifinals.
This was one-sided as Turbo Craig Clare and his Yellows outclassed the soldiers, Clare making breaks and setting up team-mates.
With All Black Aaron Smith watching from the sideline, Feilding held out a spirited Linton for the opening 10 minutes but took charge for the next 45, camped around Linton's 22 line. It should have been more than 18-0 at halftime, not that it mattered because it got to 35-0 and Feilding sent on their subs.
Brad Carr was awarded a dropped goal which missed. Feilding's rolling mauls pushed Linton back.
But when Feilding took the foot off, Linton had a late ignition and started to get parity, zipping in for two tries.
Likely Turbos halfback Papa Wharewera didn't play for Linton after bruising his shoulder against Te Kawau.
At Linton Camp: Feilding 35 (Michael Papps, Ben Wyness, Craig Clare, Brad Carr, tries; Carr con, dg; Clare 2 con, 2 pen) Linton Army 12 (Dylan Ratana, Keelan Poi, tries; K Poi con) HT 18-0.
- © Fairfax NZ News