Auckland Vulcans Storm Into National Women’s Championship Final
The Auckland Vulcans will play for a national title on October 31 at Trusts Stadium, after qualifying through this weekend’s tournament at Pulman Park to set up a Grand Final meeting with Upper Central.
The Vulcans overcame an opening-day 18-14 loss to Upper Central to win both of their games on day two – beating Wellington 30-14 before easing past Northern 40-8 – to secure a top-two spot.
The Auckland women now have the chance to become just the second Vulcans team to win a national title, following on from the boys’ U15 team which won the National Youth Tournament in 2018.
Against Northern the Vulcans raced out to a 16-4 lead at half-time, with Ponsonby’s Natalee Tagavitau burrowing over for the opener before Keri Ratima and Lavinia Tauhalaliku added further four-pointers.
Tauhalaliku would later go on to record a hat-trick.
Teenage Mt Albert back Milarnia Cairns marked her first Vulcans campaign with a 30-metre runaway try early in the second half, and with that the floodgates opened.
Another two tries from Tauhalaliku, one to Yasmine Puru-Tongia – which made it three tries for the weekend for the Richmond forward – and a Sarah Filimoeatu effort blew the scoreline out.
The spirited Northlanders did hit back late, but it was quickly cancelled out by Otahuhu’s Jhana Magele crashing over for a try which Kaylarnee Meleisea-Murray converted on the siren.
After the match Vulcans captain Lilieta Maumau-Pinomi said she was proud of the response after her side suffered the opening-day loss to Upper Central.
“I think we’ve done well to reset and come out on top with two wins today, the bench really stood out in our game against Northland,” she said.
“It’s awesome for us to qualify for the Grand Final, especially for the young girls who are coming through the ranks.”