U19s face Waikato in semifinal

Southland has advanced to the Michael Jones Trophy semifinals at the national under-19 rugby tournament in Taupo.

Southland beat Northland 29-22 yesterday and has now turned its focus to what is expected to be a mammoth challenge in the form of Waikato on Wednesday.

The Michael Jones Trophy is for the bottom eight teams at the 16-team tournament, while the top eight teams play off for the Graham Mourie Cup.

Northland was seeded third in the Blues region and Southland fourth following the South Island qualifying.

Southland led 12-10 at halftime before pushing out to 29-10 in the second half.

Northland scored two late tries to bring the final score to 29-22.Southland coach Daryl Thompson said the plan had been to attack Northland out wide, and through the likes of Dom Sipa, Henry Earland and Ben Pope they had some success with that. However, as in any good performance, the tight five did set the tone, in particular loosehead prop Sy Waiti and lock Ben Paulin.

Loose forward Taine Te Whata also produced some key turnovers at the breakdown.

Waikato will head into the semifinal following a big 67-5 win over the Heartland 15.

Thompson had a close look at that game and said Waikato certainly possessed a big team.

- Logan Savory

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