The ITM Cup Premiership and Championship finalists have been decided following a thrilling weekend of semis around New Zealand’s provincial centres.
In the second-tier Championship, Hawke’s Bay held off a fast-finishing Northland, while Manawatu took care of Southland in another tight tussle. The Premiership will see an unlikely final showdown after Taranaki outlasted Auckland and surprise packets Tasman swamped defending champs Canterbury.
As usual, there was a fair smattering of brilliant tries posted, including a superb finish by Highlanders cult hero Richard Buckman after a classic backline sweep by the Magpies; a dazzling try set up and finished off by Taniwhas skipper Dan Pryor; and Seta Tamanivalu’s twin assists for sensational – and vital – Taranaki tries.
WARNING FOR AUSTRALIAN VIEWERS: The compilation finishes by revisiting Malakai Fekitoa’s heartbreaking match-winner for the All Blacks...
ITM CUP SEMI-FINALS RESULTS
Championship Semi 1: Hawke’s Bay 26 d. Northland 21 @ Napier
Championship Semi 2: Manawatu 23 d. Southland 18 @ Palmerston North
Premiership Semi 1: Taranaki 49 d. Auckland 30 @ New Plymouth
Premiership Semi 2: Tasman 26 d. Canterbury 6 @ Nelson
ITM CUP FINAL SCHEDULE
Championship Final: Manawatu v Hawke’s Bay @ Palmerston North, Oct 24
Premiership Final: Taranaki v Tasman @ New Plymouth, Oct 25