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Southern Cross win dramatic SAS College Rugby league final

7/8/2014

AUCKLAND RUGBY LEAGUE

Southern Cross win dramatic SAS College Rugby league final

For Immediate Release

Grand final week for the SAS College Rugby League premier divisions got off to a thrilling start on Wednesday night, as Southern Cross beat Aorere with a last-minute try and sideline conversion to claim the plate title.

The two top sides had deservedly qualified through to the decider of the second-tier division, with Aorere edging past Westlake 12-6 in last week’s semi-final, and Southern Cross beating Papakura 24-10.

Both schools looked nervous to start the game, and despite several chances the score remained 0-0 through the opening 15 minutes.

A dart from close range delivered Southern Cross with the opening try, scored by hooker Asgar Lemafa. Halfback Jan Sepuloni converted to take a 6-0 lead.

That seemed to do little but anger the Aorere side, who quickly replied with three tries of their own to Tyler Mohi, Lene Pialia-Tiito and Frost Mikia.

Some gritty defence in the final minutes of the half saw Southern Cross avoid going down by more, and the score remained 14-6 to Aorere.

That confidence gained from defending their line appeared to spur Southern Cross on to a positive start in the second period, and they were the first to cross through Amini Latu, who went over out wide.

Now trailing 14-12 Southern Cross were dominating the game with 15 minutes to go, but were twice denied tries by the referee and touch judges.

Eventually the repeated sets wore Aorere down, as their opponents produced a slick right-side movement which resulted in fullback Junior Saumani going over to take a 16-14 lead.

All the momentum was with Southern Cross heading into the final 10 minutes, but some clever play from dummy-half Mohi wrestled things back in favour of Aorere.

After helping to march his side down field he crossed for the try which put them 20-16 up with less than three minutes on the clock.

But Southern Cross weren’t done.

A clever short restart was recovered and followed by back-to-back penalties Southern Cross were camped 10 metres out from the line.

With 20 seconds left on the clock they shifted the ball quickly to the left, finding an overlap where second-rower Tevita Vaitama crossed in the corner to lock it up at 20-all.

Despite nailing just one of his previous kicks on the night, halfback Jan Sepuloni showed fantastic composure to guide the ball through the sticks and hand his school the 2014 SAS College Rugby League premier plate title.

In the only other game played on Wednesday, Lynfield beat Mt Roskill 19-12.

The premier cup grand final between St Paul’s and Kelston will be held on Sunday, August 10 at Mount Smart Stadium #1.

The game, which will be screened live on Sky Sport 2, will kick-off at 12.10pm and is the curtain raiser to the Vodafone Junior Warriors v Cronulla Sharks clash.

Southern Cross 22 (Kapa Konu-Tepi, Amini Latu, Junior Saumani, Tevita Vaitama tries; Jan Sepuloni 2 goals, Junior Saumani 1 goal)

Aorere 20 (Tyler Mohi x2, Lene Pialia-Tiito, Frost Mikia tries; Aluji Pange 2 goals)

ENDS

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