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Body count mounts for champion Rays

Body count mounts for champion Rays

If Counties Manukau are to defend their NZRL National Women’s title, they’ll have to dig deep into their reserves, as the body toll mounts in Rotorua.

Entering the national tournament without last year’s MVP and top try-scorer, Atawhai Tupaea, the Stingrays began Day Two without international Kahurangi Peters, and seemed to lose fellow Kiwi Ferns Sarina Fiso and Teuila Fotu-Moala by the end of play.

Fiso was named best back and Fotu-Moala the best forward of the 2014 event.

Counties progressed unbeaten to Sunday’s final, easily dismissing Wellington Orcas 52-0 and outlasting Central Vipers 24-4 in a rematch of last year’s title game.

While the Orcas result represented the biggest score-line of the weekend, it cost the champions Fiso and Fotu-Moala, who both sat out their team’s second outing.

Central held their rivals for most of the opening half, drawing even 4-4, when the Stingrays defence failed to gather a kick through from Kristina Sue and Te Aroha Hunt scored.

But Billy-Jean Ale barged her way under the bar before half-time and the Vipers were never able to mount another challenge over the final stages.

Counties lost another of their key strike players - centre Amber Kani - soon after she crossed for her fifth try of the tournament, so intrigue will surround the line-up they eventually put out on the field for the final.

They’ll meet Akarana Falcons, who safely negotiated their only real obstacle on Day Two, when they accounted for Auckland Vulcans 20-6.

Akarana have provided their southern rivals with perhaps their stiffest opposition this weekend, when they jumped to an early 10-0 advantage on Friday afternoon, before eventually succumbing 28-10.

They may well face a very different proposition, when the two teams face each other again for the national crown.

Vipers take on Vulcans for third/fourth, having beaten them 20-0 in the final pool fixture of the tournament, while Wellington Orcas face Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions for fifth/sixth.

The homeside Stallions, competing in their first national women’s event, achieved their first victory, with a 10-0 result over hapless Canterbury.

Puketawhero Park, Rotorua

Saturday, September 26
Central Vipers 30 (Tori Lauvao-Araia, Krystal Murray, Aleasha Brider, Te Aroha Hunt & Freedom Gidy tries; Murray 2 & Talia Poutini-Lawrence 3 goals) Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions 0; HT: 6-0
Referee - Maxine Godinet, touch - Atene Karauria & Mack Seymour

Akarana Falcons 30 (Tasha Tapu 2, Va'Nessa Molia-Fraser, Cesca Totua, Annabelle Hohepa & Contessah Wright tries; Ngatokotoru Arakua 2 goals) Wellington Orcas 4 (Sieni Mose try); HT: 14-4
Referee- Karen Burgess, touch - Justyne Lui & Rochelle Tamarua

Auckland Vulcans 22 (Petronella Lefale 2, Rebecca Taua, Katrina Edwards & Savannah Lee Matua tries; Iriana Huriwai Sasulu goal) Canterbury 0; HT: 10-0
Referee - Antoinette Grootjans, touch - Gina Te Rongomou & Taylor Waenga

Akarana Falcons 20 (Cesca Luafalealo, Ngatokotoru Arakua, Lani Williams & Amber Hall tries; Lashion Jones 2 goals) Auckland Vulcans 6 (Rebecca Toua try & goal): HT: 12-6
Referee - Karen Burgess; touch - Justyne Lui & Antoinette Grootjans

Counties Manukau Stingrays 52 (Jocephay Daniels 2, Langi Veainu 2, Sarina Fiso, Maitua Feterika, Amber Kani, Te Aroha Hapuku, Krystal Rota & Karly Te Kawa tries; Rona Peters 6 goals) Wellington Orcas 0; HT: 24-0
Referee - Gina Te Rongomou; touch - Maxine Godinet & Henare Chadwick

Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions 10 (Sarah Bass & Anahera Parata tries; Jamie Tautari goal) Canterbury 0; HT: 0-0
Referee - Atene Karauria; touch - Taylor Waenge & Mack Seymour

Counties Manukau Stingrays 24 (Jocephany Daniels 2, Amber Kani, Billy-Jean Ale & Louisa Gago tries; Rona Peters 2 goals) Central Vipers 4 (Te Aroha Hunt try); HT: 10-4
Referee - Taylor Waenga; touch - Maxine Godinet & Karen Burgess

Wellington Orcas 22 (Sieni Mose, Acacia Claridge, Sherri Burgess, Molly Maligi & Ana Pereira tries; Claridge goal) Canterbury 4 (Annie Muamua try); HT: 14-4
Referee - Rochelle Tamarua; touch - Antoinette Grootjans & Tane Kaiwai

Akarana Falcons 28 (Cheyanne Tofua 3, Madison Bartlett, Laishon Jones & Georgia Hale tries; Jones & Hale goals) Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions 0; HT: 12-0
Referee - Tape Kaiwai; touch - Justyne Lu & Gina Te Rongomou

Central Vipers 20 (Tori Lauval-Araia, Talia Poutiti-Lawrence, Rikki-Lee Rawleigh & Aleisha Brider tries; Poutiri-Lawrence 2 goals) Auckland Vulcans 0; HT: 6-0
Referee - Atene Karautia; touch - Justyne Lui & Gina Te Rongomou

Sunday, September 27
Fifth/sixth playoff
Wellington Orcas v Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions
Puketawhero 3

Central Vipers v Auckland Vulcans
Puketawhero 2

Grand Final
Counties Manukau Stingrays v Auckland Falcons
Puketawhero 1


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