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The Spirit beat North Harbour 39-12 in the Farah Palmer Cup championship semifinal on Saturday at Forsyth Barr Stadium after leading 17-7 at halftime.
It will now face Bay of Plenty in the final next Saturday for a chance to win promotion to the top division of the Farah Palmer Cup.
But three players: hooker Tegan Hollows, vice-captain and halfback Zoe Whatarau and first five-eighth Liv Waldron all have exams and will not be able to make the trip.
Spirit coach Kane Jury said the side had made the issue known well before the season started and Bay of Plenty could look at changing the game to Sunday.
But as it is, the match will be on Saturday and the Spirit will be short of some players.
The home side did it the hard way on Saturday and it took a long time to put away the North Harbour challenge.
Jury said the side failed to build pressure in the first half after scoring a couple of tries in the first 10 minutes.
''We tried to play width early on but then we got inaccurate with our passing and then we were too lateral in the backs,'' Jury said.
''They came back into it and our exits in the first half weren't great either and we were playing a lot of rugby in our own half.''
But Jury said the side improved in the second half as it got the ball wide with more purpose and scored some nice tries.
''We just hung on to the ball and did what we wanted to do in the first half. We scored some nice tries.
''The scrum was a battle. It always is with us but it was good with the way the girls reacted to it and tried to work their way out of it.''
Loose forwards Georgia Mason and skipper Angie Sisifa were mighty workers and both deservedly picked up two tries. Mason won a bucketload of turnovers and was sound in the tackle, while Sisifa scored both her tries by bursting through defenders, which was the story of the afternoon for the No8.
Replacement winger Kilistina Moata'ane came on at halftime and scored a couple of great tries.
She scurried over in the corner near the end, then got the ball with 80m in front of her in the final minutes and, with pace and a nice step, ended up scoring under the posts.
Otago was rather rushed in the first half and pushed the pass too often. North Harbour was determined at the breakdown and scrambled well in defence.
Others to impress for the Spirit were hooker Hollows, fullback Sheree Hume and winger Cheyenne Cunningham.
Jury said the past two weeks with good wins over North Harbour meant the side was battle hardened for the final.