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The Invercargill Cowboys and Kia Toa Tigers secured home semifinals next Saturday and University finished its season with a good win against the South Pacific Raiders.
The well-structured Cowboys were clinical against He Tauaa in Invercargill, winning 50-6. Cowboys captain Dylan Lovett crossed over the line twice, leading the charge.
Tee Peteru also scored twice for the Cowboys in a stand-out performance for the Invercargill side. Debutant Napo Vula was brilliant through the middle with some barnstorming runs and managed to score a try in his first ever game of rugby league.
The Cowboys' defence led the way, shutting down any chances He Tauaa created. The Cowboys forwards set a good platform for the backs to capitalise on. Hooker Daniel Low scored twice to complete the good win for the Cowboys as they look forward to a home semifinal against He Tauaa again on Saturday.
The Kia Toa Tigers secured the minor premiership with a comfortable 56-0 win against the Cooks. In wet conditions, the Tigers were able to play good, simple football and ended up being too good for the travelling Cooks. The Tigers' forward pack laid down a good platform through the middle to set up its outside backs.
The Tigers finish the regular season three points ahead of the Invercargill Cowboys at the top of the table. The Tigers will play their semifinal at the Kensington Oval on Saturday against the Cooks.
University finished its season with a 32-10 win over the South Pacific Raiders. The rain came right on kickoff and both teams adjusted well to the conditions.
Fullback Josh Thompson was a stand-out performer as he created plenty of opportunities for the students. Camrin Brown had some outstanding runs for the Raiders, and the students found him difficult to contain.
Jade Higgan McCaughan filled in at hooker and steered the game nicely for University as it completed the win.
University finishes its season just missing the semifinals in fifth, and the Raiders finish their season sixth.
- Liam O'Brien