Because Waikato had a significant points advantage, it was felt that should Wellington fail to win over Bay of Plenty on Saturday, Waikato would automatically make the final.
However, Wellington got its bonus point win, beating Bay of Plenty 41-34 at Mount Maunganui.
Canterbury warmed up for the defence of their national title by beating Otago 72-24 in Dunedin.
Manawatu went even better by beating Tasman 85-7, scoring 13 tries to one. The Cyclones now await the winner of next weekend’s preliminary final between Northland and Hawke’s Bay to see who they face in the Championship final on the weekend of October 9.
Otago 24 Canterbury 72
Otago 24 (Julia Gorinski, Greer Muir 2, Tegan Hollows; Maia Joseph 2 con) Canterbury 72 (Rosie Kelly 2, Jorja Miller 2, Stephanie Te Ohaere-Fox, Grace Steinmetz, Stacey Niao, M Mataele, Catriona Greenslade, Amy du Plessis, Dianne Hiini tries; Isabella Waterman 7 con, pen). HT: 5-39
Bay of Plenty 34 Wellington 41
Bay of Plenty 34 (Alena Saili 2, Shakira Baker, Mahina Paul, Angel Mulu tries; Kalyn Takitimu-Cook 3 con, pen) Wellington 41 (Fa'ause Makisi, Nina Foaese, Angelica Uila, Ayesha Leti-l'iga 2, Georgia Faals, Precious Auimatagi tries; Amanda Rasch con; Elizabeth Goulden 2 con). HT: 17-17
Taranaki 19 Hawke's Bay 35
Taranaki 19 (Paige Neilson 2, Iritana Hohaia tries; Chloe Sampson 2 con) Hawke's Bay 35 (Krysten Cottrell, Moomooga Pahu, Jaimee Robin, Gemma Woods, Tuia Edwards tries; Cottrell 5 con). HT: 19-7
Tasman 7 Manawatu 85
Tasman 7 (Sui Pauaraisa try; Bethan Manners con) Manawatu 85 (Corrineke Windle, Alesha Williams 2, Carys Dallinger, Rhiarna Ferris, Sam Tipene, Marylin Live, Rangi-Marie Sturmey, Janna Vaughan 3, Jashana Teawiri 2 tries; Dallinger 8 con; Laura Claridge 2 con). HT: 7-33