The first game of the round had Canterbury host the Wellington Pride at Linfield Park in Christchurch on Saturday morning for a spot in the semi finals for both teams. Canterbury needed the win to guarantee a home semi next week and Wellington need the win to keep their season alive. Unfortunately there can be only one!
Canterbury started the game with all cylinders firing and the back line in full attack mode as they opened the scoring after just one minute to inside centre Lucy Anderson then two minutes later to outside centre Pip Wiley with the conversion by star Black Fern half back Kendra Cocksedge. With only 5 minutes gone in the game the score was 12-0 Canterbury. Wellington came to play as well and were on the board after 8 minute with great planned move off the back of a scrum inside Canterburys 22 which lead to a try to Cheyenne Copeland who also converted it. After that it was almost all one way traffic from Canterbury as they piled on the points through Anderson, picking up two tries, speedy half back Kendra Cocksedge and the captain Stephanie Te Ohare Fox all crossing the line. Wellington managed another two tries before the half through, one from left wing Ayesha Leti-l’lga down the left hand touch line and one just before the break to Jackie Patea-Fereti. The scoreline at the break was a more respectable 36-17 to Canterbury and Wellington going to need to bring a roar if they wanted to keep their semi finals dreams alive.
Back into the second half and the Pride did just that, with Patea-Fereti second try of the game coming within the first two minutes after a penalty was awarded and Wellington took a quick tap. That put the score to 34-24 and a real chance of Wellington fighting back in this. With Ayesha Leti-l’lga picked up her second try for the Pride in the 53rd minute it looked like it was game on with the score at 36-29 to Canterbury, but alas it was not to be. Canterbury put the pressure on and ran in three more tries to Wellingtons one more try to end the game 55-34.
The game was well played between both teams and it now gives Canterbury a home semi final next week against Waikato.
Not so lucky for the Wellington Pride who look set to be relegated to the Championship next year due to being left at the bottom of the Premiership table on 18 points equal with the Manawatu Cyclones despite having a better points differential than them.