Tigers, Cowboys finalists

Tayla Hazlett
Tayla Hazlett
The Tigers and Cowboys won their semifinals comfortably, setting up a clash between the clear top two teams in the final.

The Kia Toa Tigers held off all attempts from a fighting Cooks side and ended up running away with a 60-4 win.

It took the Tigers 15 minutes to open the scoring and it was clear the Cooks were going to make the Tigers play well. The Tigers defence shut down any opportunities the Cooks were able to create.

Tayla Hazlett was a stand-out on attack for the Tigers and supported well through the middle. The Tigers forwards caused plenty of trouble through the middle but the Cooks still managed to hold on. Darius Silberg scored for the Cooks with five minutes left before halftime, which made the score 18-4.

However, the Tigers hit back right on 40th minutes to go into the second half with a 22-4 lead.

With the wind behind them in the second half the Tigers got their tails up and let loose.

Shane Unahi had some strong runs down his left side and crossed for a well-deserved try. Hagan Free worked hard on defence for the Tigers and the Cooks struggled to get out of their own half when they had possession.

Vila Apulla made an impact off the bench for the Tigers, breaking the line with his first touch of the football and continued to do so for the rest of the game. Apulla stormed over the line, running straight through the Cooks left side defence for an impressive try.

Hazlett was difficult to stop, scoring four tries and also creating plenty of opportunities for Halla Moata'ane and Hayden Fleury, who also scored. The win gives the undefeated Tigers a home final at Kensington Oval on Saturday.

The second semifinal was played in Invercargill between the Cowboys and He Tauaa. The Cowboys were too good for He Tauaa, winning the game comfortably, 52-6

The Cowboys were clinical on attack and played with good structure. He Tauaa struggled to contain the Cowboys, who put on a well rounded performance.

The Tigers go into the final undefeated and only a round one draw against the Cowboys keeping them from having a perfect win record.

The Cowboys' only defeat came at the hands of the Tigers in round six and they have dominated all of their games since then.

Kick-off for the final is at 2.45pm on Saturday.

 - Liam O'Brien 

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