CRL MASSETTI CUP ROUND 6 WRAP
The CRL Massetti Cup table received an almighty shake-up after a pair of upsets in Round 6.
Eastern Eagles staged the biggest boilover of 2019 so far with a 24-16 defeat of previously unbeaten Hornby Panthers at Wainoni Park.
The Eagles led 12-6 at halftime and sealed a momentous victory with two tries in the second stanza, lifting the club to outright third with a 4-2 record. Front-rower Junior Peneli’s 12-point contribution from a try and four goals proved crucial.
Meanwhile, a couple of kilometres down the road at Cuthberts Green, Celebration Lions were in the process of pulling off one of the most stunning comebacks seen in the premiership’s recent history.
Riccarton Knights surged out to a 20-0 halftime lead, with three Reweti brothers getting over for tries. But the hosts rallied with four second-half tries, including a last-minute equaliser that fullback Jope Gaunavou coolly converted from a tough angle to snatch a 22-20 victory.
It was a badly needed result for the Lions, who won only one of their first five games, while the Knights’ collapse saw them slip out of the top four.
Northern Bulldogs moved into fourth place with a 58-10 demolition of Papanui Tigers, running in 11 tries.
Second-rower Cameron Godfrey finished with a hat-trick and hooker Nathaniel Tirikatene snaffled two tries as the Bulldogs turned a 16-4 halftime scoreline into a 48-point statement win. Centre Muipu Nati scored both of the Tigers’ tries.
Linwood Keas rejoined the Panthers at the top of the Massetti Cup standings with a convincing 32-10 home win over Halswell Hornets.
Danny Latu and Mapu Uasi both notched doubles for the Keas in the seven-tries-to-two result, which left the Hornets winless at the bottom of the ladder and four points adrift of the field.
In the CRL Women’s Premiership, defending champs Linwood Keas powered to a 78-16 win over Hornby Panthers.
Eastern Eagles got off the mark for 2019 with a 36-20 win over neighbouring Celebration Lions.
Burnham Chevaliers, who had the Round 6 bye, remain undefeated at the top of the table.
CRL MASSETTI CUP ROUND 6
Eastern Eagles 24 (Klayton Waikato, Tyrone Stowers, Junior Muaimalae, Junior Peneli tries; Peneli 4 goals) defeated Hornby Panthers 16 (Phillip Vaifale, Leo Petelo, Corey Lawrie tries; James Baxendale 2 goal) at Wainoni Park
Northern Bulldogs 58 (Cameron Godfrey 3, Nathaniel Tirikatene 2, Lucuster Mati, Steven Maat, Anton Ferguson, Manu Tipelu, Nick Wain, Ethan Plaskett tries; Tirikatene 4, Izic Placid 2 goals) defeated Papanui Tigers 10 (Muipu Nati 2 tries; Antonio Lemalu goal) at Papanui Domain
Celebration Lions 22 (Dylan Geddis 2, David Reed, Kaisa Leka tries; Jope Gaunavou 3 goals) defeated Riccarton Knights 20 (Te Morehu Reweti, Caleb Reweti, Zion Kamana, Gaius Reweti tries; Tele Elia, Jope Tagicakibau goals) at Cuthberts Green
Linwood Keas 32 (Danny Latu 2, Mapu Uasi 2, Rangi Thompson, Ben Ilalio, Paul Sauni tries; Toi Sepuloni 2 goals) defeated Halswell Hornets 10 (Brody Greig, Dylan Gittings tries; Jahran Katene goal) at Linwood Park
LADDER: Hornby Panthers 10 (+110), Linwood Keas 10 (+80), Eastern Eagles 8 (+16), Northern Bulldogs 6 (+62), Riccarton Knights 6 (-6), Celebration Lions 4 (-59), Papanui Tigers 4 (-97), Halswell Hornets 0 (-106)