With the Final now in sight, the heat is on in the NZ Barbarians U85 Club Cup as Round 2 and Round 3 clashes are set to take place over the coming weeks.
Last weekend saw a series of close matches played in the Capital, with a mere four points being the largest winning margin across all three Central Region games.
In a nail-biting finish, Marist St Pats Reds got up over a defiant Wellington Rugby Club, with a penalty to seal a 23-22 win over the home-side. Poneke Wanderers also prevailed 21-19 over a composite Petone team, after the Villagers missed a penalty in the dying moments to take the win. 2021 Cup semi-finalists, the Eastbourne Gulls, came away with a four-point win over a much-improved Hutt Old Boys Marist Howlers, taking the game 22-18.
In the Northern Region, College Rifles Raiders prevailed over Grammar Tec Taniwhas 25-15, and now face the Counties Manukau U85s Champions, Patumahoe, on the artificial turf.
The action is set to continue in the Capital this weekend, as the Upper Hutt Rams and Old Boys University Scallywags battle it out for a spot in Round 3, signalling the last of the Round 2 fixtures. Meanwhile the Eastbourne Gulls and Poneke Wanderers are set to return to the field for a second weekend for their Round 3 clash.
In other sizeable matchups this weekend, 2020 Cup holders, Eden Lizards, come up against the newly crowned North Harbour Rugby U85s champions, East Coast Bays. In the Deep South, the two remaining Southern teams, the Carisbrook Bush Pigs and the Lincoln University Short Finned Eels, will duel it out with an early 10.30am kick-off under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
In what is the longest road trip yet of the competition, Elevate Roofing Massey U85s are playing away to Tukapa in Taranaki. Tukapa, whilst new to U85s, are under the expert guidance of ex-Ponsonby Hustlers coach, Nathan Lawrence, so many eyes will be on the result.
Melville and the landlocked Pukekohe Pirates also enter the competition in another interesting cross boundary match-up. And in a tasty repeat of the Auckland Rugby semi-final, Ponsonby Hustlers will face the AURFC Debt Collectors in the coming weeks following Hamilton Old Boys unfortunately having to default due to injuries.
Tune in to watch the live matches