Kia Ora Warriors stayed in the hunt for the playoffs with a last-minute win over Linton Cobras at Fitzherbert Park on Saturday.
Kia Ora were locked in an arm wrestle with Linton for most of the second half as no-one could break the 10-all deadlock.
In the 75th minute Kia Ora gave away a penalty right in front of their posts and Jaxon Samoa slotted it to put Linton on course for the win.
Kia Ora fired up for the kickoff in a frantic last five minutes and forced the mistake from Linton, then Corey Governer dotted down to give them the win 16-12.
Kia Ora coach Terry Clune said it was a much-needed win to keep their season alive.
"They knew how important this game was to us playing in the premier semis.
"The way they played the whole 80 minutes which we haven't played all year," he said.
Clune thought the heads might have dropped after Linton went ahead through the penalty, but they dug deep for the win.
Kia Ora prop Kele Kosi had a big game with his defence and big runs, while veterans Dean Wilson and Dennis Maxwell played well.
Whiti Te Ra sewed up the minor premiership when they beat the Dannevirke Tigers 24-4 at Fitzherbert Park.
Whiti Te Ra had to defend early and let the Tigers in for a try in the first 10 minutes, before the Otaki club replied and they went into the break ahead 6-4.
Whiti Te Ra had a prop sin binned just before halftime and once he was back on in the second spell, they turned it on and started to break the Dannevirke defence.
The win puts Whiti Te Ra clear at the top of the table with five wins from five games in the second round.
There is one more round until the playoffs.
In the other game Wanganui Boxon had to work hard to overcome the Levin Wolves 18-14 in Levin.
■ Kia Ora will have a team in all three of the junior grade finals after the semifinals at Arena Manawatu.
Kia Ora will play Levin in the under-17s, Wanganui Boxon in the under-15s and Tainui in the under-13s. Finals are from 5.30pm
Semifinal results: Under-17s: Kia Ora 47 Foxton 34, Levin 22 Tigers 20. Under-15: Kia Ora 29 Dannevirke 4, Wanganui Boxon 44 Foxton 18. Under-13: Kia Ora 50 Wanganui Boxon 18, Tainui 52 Tigers 38.
P W L F A Pts Whiti Te Ra 5 5 0 146 64 10 Wanganui 5 3 2 129 72 6 Linton 5 2 3 112 103 4 Kia Ora 5 2 3 126 142 4 Dannevirke 5 2 3 112 182 4 Levin 5 1 4 86 168 2
- Manawatu Standard
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