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Harbour trailed University 47-12 before it had hauled the anchor all the way in at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday.
Powerful second five-eighth Willie Tufui pummelled his way through heavy traffic to score.
It was the late spark the Hawks needed. They scored 26 unanswered points to save some blushes in the 47-38 loss.
But the contest was already over when impressive University flanker Josh Hill scored early in the second half to give his side a 35-7 lead.
Hill was dynamic in the lineout and prominent in the loose, while first five-eighth Sam Clarke kicked three penalties and four conversions in a good performance as well.
Shortly after Hill got across, halfback Kieran McClea took a quick tap and scampered 90m to score.
That really was a dagger for Harbour, which produced a flat opening 60 minutes. Losing a man to the sin bin either side of halftime certainly did not help either.
Hawks flanker Oliver Parkinson scored in the corner in a nice solo effort from 40m out. But University hooker Ricky Jackson came up with an even better effort from a similar distance.
He sprinted through a gap and then looked around for support only to find none. So he pulled out a goose step and set off on an angled run to the corner. Terrific effort.
University shuffled its line-up around in the final quarter and Harbour ran in a series of consolation tries.
Taieri 21 Dunedin 19
A very tense, close encounter with some magnificent defence ended up with a home-team victory at Peter Johnstone Park.
Taieri knows how to win the tight ones. With a two-point lead and down to 13 players with a minute to play, it did just enough.
Dunedin started the way it finished last week and gave up a seven-point intercept try inside the first minute to lock Ben Morris who galloped 40m to score. Dunedin dominated the last 20 minutes of the spell with tries to fullback Caleb Makene and flanker Angus Duckett.
The key moment of the game occurred 20 minutes into the second spell when Dunedin had to take off Highlander Caleb Makene as he had been the dominant back in the game.
At the same time, Taieri bought on Matt Whaanga for his last game of the season before heading to Southland. He scored two tries after 26 and 34 minutes of the second spell to win the game for the Eels.
Dunedin did not give up and spent the last six minutes of the game camped on the Taieri line. The home team gave up some cynical penalties to concede a penalty try and had two players in the bin but did enough to hang on and win an enthralling game.
For Taieri, openside flanker Nick Henderson was its best while Whaanga and fullback Caleb Leef were the standouts in the backline.
Makene was outstanding for Dunedin and midfielder Keenan Christian-Goss was extremely tidy. Prop Kees Scott played his best game for Dunedin and hooker Sam Rainger displayed some outrageous handling and passing skills.
Green Island 50 Zingari-Richmond 24
Green Island put 40 points past Zingari-Richmond in the opening 40 minutes at Montecillo.
The likes of Dylan Nel, Ray Nu’u, Sam Gilbert and Neria Fomai split the Colours defence to help clinch a 50-24 win.
There was a series of long-range tries and some sparkling rugby played by the Grizzlies.
Perhaps the best try was scored just before halftime. Green Island packed down a scrum 10m out from its own line.
Rather than clear the ball the team spun it to Fomai, who has signed a short-term contract with Highlanders. The left winger took off, casting would be tacklers aside.
He was finally pulled down 5m short but found Nu’u in support who got collared just short but popped it to halfback James Arscott to score.
They are the sort of tries which can break apart any remaining resolve. But the Colours rallied in the second spell.
Kayne Hammington came on at halfback and former All Black Nehe Milner-Skudder moved to first five-eighth.
Those changes sparked a dramatic turnaround. Zingari-Richmond dominated the second half.
Chris McNoe grabbed a brace of tries and loose forward Simon Pupualii crossed as well.
And a late penalty try meant Zingari-Richmond was able to get a bonus point out of the game for four tries.
Green Island loosies Sean Jansen and Jesse Va’afusuaga had solid games, while Ciaran Jansen stood out for the home side in the lineout and Hammington brought a lot of energy to the match.
Kaikorai 27 Southern 25
Kaikorai snatched a last minute four-try bonus point 27-25 victory against an imposing Southern side in a start-stop affair at Bishopscourt.
Southern was camped inside the Kaikorai half for the majority of the first half. But it was the home side which turned its rare incursions in Southern territory into points, through tries to flankers Slade McDowall and Jake Russ.
And just as it appeared it was heading to dot down for a third and run away with a one-sided victory, it turned the ball over. Southern fullback Obey Samate burst 70m up field only for desperate defence to force his progress close to the touchline 20m out.
His clever kick ahead was then gathered in by replacement first five-eighth Jack Leslie, who dived over for the try. Samate added the extras to put the visiting side back in the contest with a halftime score favouring Kaikorai 15-10.
Buoyed by Leslie's try, Southern dominated the early exchanges after the break, capitalising through two tries in quick succession to halfback Graham Urquhart, to hold a 22-15 lead.
As both sides cleared their benches, the game meandered until the final 10 minutes when Kaikorai burst into life, eventually scoring through lock Zack McKenzie in the 77th minute and replacement hooker Mitch Pryde in the final play of the game.
Kaikorai was well-served by McKenzie, No8 Christian Lio-Willie and first five-eighth Ben Miller. Urquhart delivered good clean ball to an enterprising Southern backline, in which Samate always posed as a threat.
- ODT rugby writers