Sport: Bombay red hot favourites for fourth consecutive McNamara Cup

Karaka will need to have their defence in top form if they are to stop Bombay take out fourth consecutive title.
Richard Spranger

Karaka will need to have their defence in top form if they are to stop Bombay take out fourth consecutive title.

Bombay chase their fourth Counties Manukau club rugby premiership in a row at ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe on Saturday. 

In their way stand Karaka, a club that has never won the McNarama Cup. They've appeared in five grand finals and finished runners-up each time.

Their last two bids were in 2014 and 2015 when they lost 16-10 and 23-21 to give the black and gold machine back-to-back titles.

Craig Hill hopes he and his Karaka team can break their McNamara Cup duck against Bombay at ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe ...
Richard Spranger

Craig Hill hopes he and his Karaka team can break their McNamara Cup duck against Bombay at ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe on Saturday.

At the helm for four of those five challenges was Craig Hill.

He has his fingers crossed that a fifth challenge will break his duck. But he is under no illusions as to how tough taking down a team as settled as Bombay is going to be.

"We're definitely the under-dogs. Bombay are a pretty settle side with the experience of four championship wins. Their players know what finals rugby is all about. They beat us comprehensively in the second round so we have our work cut out.

Karaka have to tame Bombay front rowers Kalolo Tuiloma, left, and Coree Tewhata-Colley if they are to lift the NcNamara ...
Richard Spranger

Karaka have to tame Bombay front rowers Kalolo Tuiloma, left, and Coree Tewhata-Colley if they are to lift the NcNamara Cup for the first time at ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe on Saturday.

"Their set pieces are accurate, they stick to their structures and they're very good at what they do. Our mission will be trying to break all that down."

Hill says Karaka's forward pack will be the key to any success. "If our forwards can counter their set piece and get us enough ball we're a chance."

Karaka beat Patumahoe 20-15 in their semi final last Saturday. Seluini Molia and Under-20 Rugby World Cup winning midfielder Orbyn Leger scored tries. Scott Allison kicked two conversions and two penalties.

Bombay whipped Ardmore Marist 32-10. They outscored their Papakura visitors byt six tries to two. 

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Karaka are also in three other finals.

They face Bombay for the Bob Chandler (premier reserves), Patumahoe for the Massey Cup (under-21s) and Patumahoe for the under-85kg championship.

The premier reserves beat Manurewa 10-7; the under-21s beat Pukekohe 29-17 and the under-85kgs pipped Karaka 12-8.

Weymouth won the Sid Marshall Shield (premier three) beating Maramarua 38-17 at the Laurie Gibbons Domain, Weymouth on Saturday.

And in women's rugby Ardmore Marist turned the tables on Manurewa with a narrow 22-17 win over South Auckland rivals Manurewa.

The Pulman Park-based side have a bye in the final round on Saturday. They sit second in the standings behind Rifles Thunderbirds. They are point ahead of Marist and six better than Manurewa who are fourth on 25 points.

The reserve grade final starts at 1pm and the premiership final at 2.45pm.

 - Stuff

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