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West Taieri has put an end to Clutha’s era of dominance.
The Pigs have convincingly won 40-17 at Outram to book a home final next weekend.
The match was slightly closer than the scoreline suggests with West Taieri nabbing three late tries to blow the score out.
Clutha’s defence was firm, but the team could not catch a trick on attack.
The halftime score was 15-12 to West Taieri with the result still up in the air.
West Taieri managed to keep its nose in front and frustrate the Clutha attack, forcing it to make plenty of mistakes in try-scoring positions.
West Taieri’s inside-back combination of Jackson Reid and Callum Smeaton were exceedingly difficult to deal. Reid helped himself to a hat-trick of tries on the back of a solid platform set by the forwards.
Smeaton scored the other try and kicked four conversions and three penalties for an individual haul of 22 points.
Captain Conor Beaton was a standout for the Pigs at the boot of the scrum, getting through a mountain of work.
Clutha was in the fight for the most part but accuracy let it down. Winger Robin Fesilafai scored a brace of tries and was back to his dangerous best.
Clutha Valley has secured its place in the big dance with a 46-38 win over Crescent in a high-scoring match at Clydevale.
Valley started well and was on the front foot early as it controlled possession and threw together multiple phases.
When Crescent had possession, it was its own worst enemy, with poor handling a problem. The home side went into the sheds 22-13 ahead.
Valley again started well in the second half and rushed to a 41-17 lead at one stage, all but sealing the match.
Crescent, with the help of its bench, almost mounted a miracle comeback in the last half hour. Everything seemed to click as the Coal Miners showed why they have been one of the best this season. But the team ran out of time and Valley was a deserved victor.
Valley’s dominance at the breakdown was evident for the first hour. Flankers Maurice Tairua and Josh Botting had extraordinarily strong games.
Halfback Jared Edwards was at his best. He led his pack around well and helped himself to a hat-trick of tries. Jonny Sargent in the midfield and Brayden Wilson at fullback also played well.
Crescent’s power and impact off the bench was phenomenal, though, with reserves Nick McBride and Alan Anderson contributing to the tries column.
Heriot will play Toko in the bottom-four final after Heriot eased past Clinton 51-12 and Toko saw off Owaka 33-29.
- Francis Parker