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Auckland, Counties Manukau claim Northern titles

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Lynn McConnell     13 Dec 2015     Getty Images

The seedings for the men's National Sevens next month are: 1.Auckland, 2.Hawke's Bay, 3.Counties Manukau, 4.Waikato, 5.Manawatu, 6.North Harbour, 7.Otago, 8.Northland, 9.Bay of Plenty, 10.Wellington, 11.Wanganui, 12.Tasman, 13.Canterbury, 14.Mid Canterbury, 15.Taranaki, 16.South Canterbury.

The seedings for the women's finals are: 1.Counties Manukau, 2.Manawatu, 3.Auckland, 4.Waikato, 5.Wellington, 6.Wairarapa Bush, 7.Canterbury, 8.North Harbour, 9.Otago, 10.Tasman.

Auckland qualified for the men's final by heading off North Harbour in a tight semi-final which required a goalline-to-goalline run by Sam Livingstone to break a 12-12 deadlock for the 19-12 win.

Counties Manukau had to go to extra time when tied 12-12 with Waikato at fulltime but managed the golden point try to qualify for the final.

Mistakes marred the first few minutes of the final before Auckland's Ed Fidow took hold of proceedings to blast off a short pass and race away for the opening try.

Counties Manukau came back and while hesitating on a break down the sideline and losing the feed to a scrum after a maul, Auckland were penalised for collapsing and in the aftermath Savelio Ropati crossed out wide.

But Fidow made the most of a run down the sideline, and a kick to the in-goal area, to win the race to the touchdown millimetres from the deadball line.

Into the second half Gareth Williams-Spiers scored for Auckland to get out to a 19-5 lead.

Counties Manukau gave themselves a chance when Desma Liaina scored to pull the margin back to 19-12 but failure to complete the chance they created allowed Williams-Spiers to finish off a length-of-the-field move to score on fulltime.

Waikato contested an entertaining play-off for third and fourth with North Harbour before claiming a 28-26 win. Epeli Lotawa scored first for Waikato but Joshua Powell and 17-year-old James Little scored to give North Harbour a 12-7 lead.

Jerome Nanoa struck a double blow for Waikato within two minutes to see them skip out to a 21-12 lead and Luke Masirewa scored the fourth try which proved sufficient to provide a buffer against the fast-finishing North Harbour side who scored through Benjamin Smith and Theo Hermans.

In the women's final Counties Manukau beat Auckland 33-22 for a deserved title.

Renee Wickliffe scored Counties Manukau's first two tries, the second a dazzling solo effort which started out from the halfway line. Natahlia Moors and Theresa Fitzpatrick had given Auckland a 12-7 lead before Wickliffe scored her second, and they scored a length of the field try just before halftime with Charmaine Smith completing the effort.

A strong second half effort set up their win with Feofa'aki Piliu regaining the lead with Jonsal Tautari and Piliu scoring before Auckland finished with a consolation try for Tasha Tapu.

In the women's play-off for third and fourth with the winner progressing to the national finals, Waikato withstood a late burst by North Harbour to claim a 15-14 win. Two tries to Terina Te Tamaki proved vital as Waikato's tries were also scored wide out making conversions difficult. Emma Iversen and Florida Fatanitavake scored theirs for North Harbour beneath the posts.


Scores were:

Men's:

North Harbour 21 Waikato 7; Auckland 36 Bay of Plenty 0, Counties Manukau 29 Northland 14, Counties Manukau 14 Waikato 10, Auckland 34 North Harbour 7, Northland 21 Bay of Plenty 12, Waikato 17 Bay of Plenty 12, Counties Manukau 19 Auckland 7, North Harbour 19 Northland 10.

Play-offs:

For fifth and sixth: Northland 22 Bay of Plenty 10

Semi-finals:

Auckland 19 North Harbour 12
Counties Manukau 17 Waikato 12

Final:

Auckland 26 Counties Manukau 12

Women's:

Auckland 22 North Harbour 7, Counties Manukau 15 Bay of Plenty 12, Waikato 22 Bay of Plenty 0, Counties Manukau 17 North Harbour 14, Auckland 17 Bay of Plenty 7, Counties Manukau 24 Waikato 7, Auckland 19 Waikato 10, North Harbour 29 Bay of Plenty 12, Auckland 17 Counties Manukau 7, Waikato 32 North Harbour 5.

Semi-final:

Waikato 15 North Harbour 14

Final:

Counties Manukau 33 Auckland 22