Shourabh Vittalmurthy16:43, Jul 27 2021
South Canterbury Heartland Squad 2021:
Forwards: Tokomaata Fakatava (Waimate), Vaka Taelega (Temuka), Taufa Hala’afia (Harlequins), Matt Fetu (Celtic), Junior Faavae (Temuka), Conor Anderson (Celtic), Solomone Lavaka (Temuka), Anthony Amato (Waimate), Henry Bryce (Waimate), Etienne van Zyl (Old Boys), Cam Russell (Mackenzie), Nick Strachan (Celtic), Tangi Savielo (Temuka), Mitch Cooke (Pleasant Point), Siu Kakala (Harlequins), John Borland (Pleasant Point), and Loni Toumohuni (Waimate).
Backs: Theo Davidson (Waimate), William Wright (Celtic), Faalele Iosus (Temuka), Miles Medlicott (Waimate), Zac Saunders (Celtic), Paula Fifita (Harlequins), Sainivaiati Ramuwai (Mackenzie), Kalavini Leatigaga (Temuka), Peala Matakaiongo (Celtic), Sireli Buliruarua (Harlequins) and Liueli Simote (Temuka).
Shourabh Vittalmurthy14:22, Jul 18 2021
Temuka players revel in the winning atmosphere after taking out the Hamersley Cup 2021 final against Harlequins.
Temuka claimed their third consecutive South Canterbury senior A club rugby championship with a dominating win over Harlequins at Alpine Energy Stadium on Saturday.
The game started off with high intensity as both teams put up a strong defensive show with Harlequins scoring first through a penalty by captain Dean Andrews to lead 3-0 but from then on the game belonged to the defending champions as they posted 33 unanswered points for a 33-3 final scoreline.
Temuka captain Junior Faavae was elated with the third straight win and thanked all the supporters for backing them during the entire tournament.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Faavae said.
Temuka’s Ricky Neame is tackled by Harlequins’ Sireli Buliruarua
“We had to step it up in the finals, (as Harlequins had beaten Temuka twice in round-robin play). Happy that we could put out the performance today.”
With Harlequins playing attacking rugby at the start, Temuka put up a strong defensive show and forced a lot of technical errors and fouls from Harlequins to earn a steady supply of penalties throughout the match.
Temuka's winger Sione Osamu is elated after Ricky Neame scored a first half try against Harlequins
That allowed Temuka to maintain good possession of the ball and put the pressure by keeping the ball in Harlequins' half.
Temuka scored the game's only tries with the rest of the points coming from the boot of Temuka's number 10, Faalele Iousa with seven penalties and a conversion.
In the 22nd minute, it was Iosua who equalised with a penalty and that gave the momentum to Temuka.
An elated Temuka captain Junior Faavae holds the Hamersley Cup aloft after victory over Harlequins.
Ricky Neame, with a clever movement, followed it up with a try in the 29th minute for an 8-3 lead and Iosua extended that to 14-3 at halftime with two more penalties.
Temuka's Semisi Paseka and Keith Darby displayed great defensive techniques, shutting down almost every Harlequins attacking move and formed the central core of Temuka’s defence.
After the break there were two more penalties for a 20-3 lead before Temuka's second try by Sione Osamu in the 65th minute which effectively put the game to rest with 27-3 lead before two more penalties completed the scoring.
Temuka’s Faalele Iosua scored 23 points in the final, kicking seven penalties and a conversion.
Victory for Temuka means the club, formed in 1875, has won the senior A club title a record 42 times which includes two times when combined with Old Boys in 1976 and 1979.
Temuka coach Luke Reihana was pleased with the outcome, especially in a season that was plagued with injuries.
“This was one of the toughest seasons,” Reihana said.
Harlequins’ were out played by Temuka’s strong defensive line and could not get enough ball to dictate terms in the game.
“Injury wise, it is a very pleasing thing to win the cup. We had a lot of them struggling with injuries. But we stuck to our goals and kept building.
"And since we made it to the semis and finals, we knew we had to battle it out 80 minutes each game and put pressure on and the boys did it.”
Andrews congratulated Temuka on their victory and credited his team for putting up a great show during the season.
Temuka players, families and fans soak in the atmosphere after winning the Hamersley Cup 2021 in comprehensive fashion over Harlequins.
Harlequins' manager Brett Jenkins was proud of his team's performance in this season, but was a tad sad that they couldn't finish it off in the finals.
“It was a successful season for us, and how we got to the finals; just that we fell short in the finals,” Jenkins said.
“Credit to the way Temuka played (in the finals). They put a lot of pressure on us. We couldn't get the ball, and they played well.
“Looking back on the season, it was a successful one. Now, we look forward to the season next year.”
In the final for teams finishing 5th-8th, Mackenzie beat Pleasant Point 23-19 while in the senior B final for the Glover Cup, Harlequins beat Pleasant Point 20-8.
Shourabh Vittalmurthy13:44, Jul 16 2021
Harlequins’ captain Dean Andrews, left and Temuka’s captain Ricky Neame pose with the Hamersley Cup at Alpine Energy Stadium ahead of the South Canterbury senior club rugby final.
Three will be the magic number for either Harlequins or Temuka in the South Canterbury senior club rugby final on Saturday.
For Temuka, victory at Alpine Energy Stadium would make it three-straight Hamersley Cup grand final wins, while victory for Harlequins would complete a run of three victories in 2021 over the two-time defending champion and seal the club's first title since 2008.
The championship decider features the two teams that finished on top of the points table after the round-robin phase in which Harlequins downed Temuka 28-19 and 24-9.
Even with the early victories over Temuka, Harlequins’ skipper Dean Andrews is wary of their opponent’s prowess and quality.
“Temuka are two-time defending champions and are a very good team,” Andrews said.
Temuka and Harlequins battle in a scrum during their round-robin game at the Temuka Domain on May 22, 2021.
“It is good to be against the best in the finals. We perform better when we are put to test against the best.
"If we can stick to the basics, we can come away with a win on Saturday."
Andrews said that the team, right from the start of the season, had a goal to come to the finals and win the cup.
“We are excited.
“We enjoy good rivalry against Temuka and hope to put out our A game on Saturday and come with a win. If we can stick to our basics, we can get a win.”
Andrews credited the team culture and brotherhood within the group, where each one had the back of another to put them in the position that they are in.
“The season had a lot of ups and downs,” Andrews said.
“We are a diverse club with a lot of players from different cultures. We connect really well and the family vibe within all of us has put us in this position.”
Andrews, who took the match winning last second conversion kick to beat Celtic 22-21 in the semifinals, terms it to be a dream and a miracle.
“I told the boys, win or lose, play with all your hearts, and we really deserved to be in the finals.''
Harlequins’ number 13 Sireli Buliruarua along with his partner Whitney Newland, Sahara Vae (2) and niece Kiane Faith (11), are excited for the finals. Newland has been cheering for Harlequins for the past three years and expects an intense clash on Saturday.
Temuka, formed in 1875, are eager to lay their hands on the trophy for the 42nd time.
Temuka captain Ricky Neame acknowledged his players for putting up a great show all season and hoped to get a win on Saturday.
“It is going to be a very tough game,” Neame said.
“We played them twice, and they have put us under the pump. Our boys have to turn up on Saturday and get it done. The goal of reaching the finals is knocked; we have one more goal to knock off.”
Temuka’s Caleb McNoe passes against Harlequins in the round-robin phase at the Temuka Domain on May 22.
Ken Darby and Gareth Burgess, life members of Temuka and Harlequins respectively, will be rooting for their clubs when match kicks off at 3pm.
Darby's service to the club started in playing for them in 1977 and labelled the decider as the pinnacle of club rugby in South Canterbury.
“A lot of hard work has been done in this 141 plus year old club,” he said.
“It is a reward for old players to see the club go so strong. Not just from January, the boys train all summer and hit gyms, and it is exciting to see them in finals.”
Burgess has had close ties with Harlies, first as a player and then a committee member, since its creation in 1988 from the Zingari and Star clubs' amalgamation.
Burgess was excited about the final and hoped Harlequins can win for their first grand final win since 2008.
“Harlequins is a multicultural and family oriented club and the players and club management is the reason behind its success.''
Shourabh Vittalmurthy15:06, Jul 11 2021
In what was a humdinger of a finish to a game, Harlequins, who trailed behind Celtic throughout the game, pipped their rivals in the dying moments to win the Hamersley Cup semifinal 22-21 on Saturday.
The game at Alpine Energy Stadium, saw Celtic, who finished fourth in the round-robin, dictating terms right from the start of the game against table toppers Harlequins.
Celtic held their defensive line high and took their chances to put numbers on the scoreline and did not let Harlequins a chance to make any breakthroughs.
Celtic comprehensively took the game away from Harlequins in the first half as they lead 11-0.
At half-time, Harlequins trailed Celtic by 11-0.
The game took an interesting shape as it moved into injury time with the score reading 21-15 in favour of Celtic.
A moment of brilliance and link up play from Harlequins’ Jordan Fraser and Kamal Tackney in the final moments of injury time, saw them breakthrough the solid Celtic defence, with the latter registering a try bring the score to 20-21.
In what would be the last touch of the game, Harlequins skipper Dean Andrews shouldered responsibility and scored from the conversion to register a one-point nail bitting win over the Celtic.
Harlequins Senior A coach Faingaa Savieti was glad that they managed to pull off the miracle in the last second.
“It took us over 80 minutes to win this game,” Savieti said.
Celtic put up a strong defensive show by tracking down Harlequins’ attackers in the first half. Here pictured is Harlequins’ Tevita Finau (with ball) being tackled by Celtic defenders, while Jordan Fraser comes in for support.
“It is bad luck for Celtic. They played really well, but we managed to play good for the last 10 minutes, and we won in the end.”
Harlequins, will now face Temuka in the finals. Temuka won their semifinal clash against Waimate 33-24 at Temuka Domain.
“Temuka is a good team,” Savieti said.
“We respect Temuka a lot. They have been the champions for last two years. We are eagerly looking forward to the game next week.”
Harlequins will now face two-time defending champions Temuka in the final of the Hamersley Cup.
Harlequins manager Brett Jenkins was relieved how the fortunes turned for Harlequins in the end.
“It was a fairytale end to the semifinal,” Jenkins said.
“Celtic played well for the first 70 minutes but last 10 minutes we started playing well. We need to play good against Temuka. We need to play good rugby for 80 minutes in the finals.”
The Hamersley Cup will be played at Alpine Energy Stadium on July 17 at 3pm.
In the Senior A bottom 4 finals, Pleasant Point will face Mackenzie at Pleasant Point Domain on July 17 for the Ian Scott Memorial Cup, after they defeated Geraldine 52-5 and Old Boys 37-18, respectively, in the bottom 4 semifinals on Saturday.
Shourabh Vittalmurthy14:42, Jun 28 2021
A “nail biting” last minute victory and a surprise loss has opened up the race for the top four playoff positions in South Canterbury senior club rugby.
As defending champions Temuka fell to Pleasant Point, the co-leaders before the round, Harlequins, snatched a last minute one point victory over Celtic in the 13th round of the 14 round-robin phase of Hamersley Cup competition.
With less than a couple of minutes to fulltime, a try from Harlequins put them ahead of Celtic, earning a dramatic 37-36 win.
Temuka’s 34-25 loss at home to Pleasant Point means that Harlequins are sole leaders of the points table on 54 with Temuka on 50 with one round remaining before the playoffs.
Harlequins manager Brett Jenkins was excited that the team was almost guaranteed top spot after the hard fought win.
“It was a good game and an evenly fought contest by both teams,” Jenkins said.
“It was a hard fought battle for us. Six of our starting players were unavailable, and we had to rope in a couple of coaches to play for us.
“Also, a few of the players had to come out of retirement to take the field.
Sevici Naisilisili of Harlequins runs hard towards a Celtic defender during their South Canterbury senior rugby match.
“The boys dug deep and showed heart to pull the win in the end.
“With about five minutes to go Celtic got a try and went ahead of us. But with about less than two minutes left, we got a try, and we went ahead. It was a nail biting affair.”
The race for third and fourth play-off spots now remains tight with Celtic on 41 points Waimate on 40 after a 84-10 win over Old Boys at the weekend, and Pleasant Point entering the race on 36 points after their upset win.
Pleasant Point coach Shane Spiers acknowledged the effort put in by his team and said they were keen to get a top-four finish.
“It was a huge defensive effort to beat Temuka. The defence set in well and took hold of the game. We took our opportunities and scored points,” Spiers said.
Malakai Uasi of Harlequins about to score a try despite Celtics Tomasi Bicaka’s best efforts to stop him.
Spiers was confident that the team was ready to give it all to earn the top-four finish but they will need to topple Harlequins on Saturday and hope the result between Waimate and Celtic goes in their favour as well.
“We will be looking for a top-four finish, and we’ve got to win our next game against Harlequins.
“This is such a competitive league and coming in the top four is a great feat. We will be looking to play with the same intensity.”
Saturday’s other match featured a 34-14 win for Mackenzie over Geraldine.
Saturday's draw is: Harlequins v Pleasant Point, Mackenzie v Temuka, Waimate v Celtic, Old Boys v Geraldine.
Points: Harlequins RFC 54, Temuka 50, Celtic 41, Waimate 40, Pleasant Point 36, Mackenzie 29, Geraldine 6, Old Boys 4.
Doug Sail12:29, Jun 14 2021
Harlequins and Temuka remain locked together at the top of the South Canterbury senior club table.
Temuka, the defending Hamersley Cup champions, cruised past the winless Old Boys 43-12 on Saturday at School Park, while Harlequins accounted for Mackenzie 28-17.
Those victories mean the winners are both on 44 points with nine wins and eight bonus points each from 11 matches.
Celtic sit third on 40 points from eight wins and eight bonus points after beating Geraldine 53-0 with Waimate, 21-17, winners over Pleasant Point, holding the fourth play off spot on 35 points with three rounds remaining before the semifinals.
Temuka's Ternari Saumani looks for support on an attacking run against Old Boys in South Canterbury senior club rugby.
The chasing pack is led by Pleasant Point on 26, with Mackenzie 19, Geraldine 6 and Old Boys 4 rounding out the table.
Celtic have the hardest road into the playoffs, facing the other top four sides, Temuka, Harlequins and Waimate over the next three weeks.
Harlequins face Old Boys, Celtic and Pleasant Point, Temuka play Celtic, Pleasant Point and Mackenzie while Waimate face Mackenzie, Old Boys and Celtic.
Chris Tobin14:45, May 31 2021
Timaru’s Alpine Energy Stadium is proving to be a jinxed ground for Harlequins this season.
The high-flyer in this season’s Hamersley Cup senior rugby competition went down to Celtic at the venue a few weeks back and on Saturday suffered the same fate to Waimate.
Wet conditions required a different style of rugby and in this Waimate proved more adept.
Throughout the match, Harlequins struggled to get out of their own half and with superior field position it seemed inevitable the points would follow for Waimate.
They got home 14-0 with a try to Josh O’Neill capitalising on a charge down by Theo Davison who had a handy day with the boot kicking three penalties.
Temuka downed Geraldine 36-0 which means they sit top of the table now with Harlequins on 39 points, although Harlequins has the better points differential.
In other matches, Celtic accounted for Old Boys 50-0, and Pleasant Point beat Mackenzie 24-7.
Saturday’s results leave Celtic on 35 points, Waimate 31, Mackenzie 19, Geraldine 6 and Old Boys 3.
No senior rugby will be played this weekend.
The competition resumes on June 12 with Temuka against Old Boys at Temuka, Celtic against Geraldine (at Geraldine), Waimate v Pleasant Point (Waimate) and Mackenzie v Harlequins (Fairlie).
Chris Tobin, May 24 2021
Any doubts as to the quality of the Harlequins’ senior rugby team were quashed on Saturday.
The Timaru team took on Hamersley Cup holders Temuka on their home turf and triumphed 24-9.
Harlequins had their noses in front narrowly at half-time, leading 10-9, but they kept the Magpies pointless in the second half and rattled on more points for a secure win.
Harlequins are well clear on the competition ladder on 39 points, with their only loss coming against Celtic in an ill-disciplined display, with Temuka second on 34 points.
Celtic bounced back from their loss to Mackenzie the week before, grinding out a 36-31 over Pleasant Point and now sit comfortably third.
Waimate had an easy 48-8 win over Geraldine at Manchester Park in Waimate and with the other three frontrunners are now well clear of the tail-enders.
Point have 21 points. Mackenzie with a 28-7 win over Old Boys are on 19 points with Geraldine and Old Boys on six and four respectively.
Young Temuka supporters greet Harlequins players as they head on to the field to play Temuka.
A lively clash can be expected between Harlequins and Waimate this, Saturday at Ashbury Park in Timaru.
Other matches will see Temuka against Geraldine in Temuka, Pleasant Point against Mackenzie at Point, and Celtic against Old Boys at Timaru’s Alpine Energy Stadium.
Chris Tobin, May 17 2021
South Canterbury senior club rugby leaders Harlequins will travel to Temuka on Saturday with an air of confidence to take on the Hamersley Cup holders.
Harlequins rammed home their superiority over Geraldine on Saturday with the 97-3 scoreline showing their determination to stay on track for what has been a strong season so far, blighted only by some instances of ill discipline in a recent loss to Celtic.
That was the only defeat Harlequins have suffered this season. They sit on top of the competition ladder with 35 points, one ahead of Temuka due to an extra bonus point.
In April Harlequins beat Temuka 28-19, the Magpies’ only loss of the season.
On Saturday, Temuka prevailed against 2020 Hamersley Cup finalists, Waimate, at Manchester Park in Waimate.
The game had been an arm wrestle until halftime with Temuka ahead by one point, 20-19, but the Magpies went on to a comfortable 42-26 victory taking out the Ian Pierce Trophy and the Jack Kelly Cup.
Victory for Waimate would have been the perfect outcome for what was a big club day as it completed the awarding of caps to players who have made more than 100 senior appearances, a process which started last season.
At a function on Saturday evening caps were awarded to the families and friends of centurions who have passed away: Duncan Bell, Ian “Lofty” Proudfoot, Moray Watson, Mick Scott, Tom Stevenson, Jim Waldie, and Noel Dennison.
Mackenzie caused the big upset of the weekend in downing Celtic at Strathconan Park in Fairlie.
When they last met back in March, Celtic put the Rams away 33-5 but it was a different story on Saturday with Mackenzie winning 19-14.
Celtic still sit third in the competition with 26 points four clear of Waimate.
In the first match for the Maturo Challenge Cup, a trophy donated by former Old Boys and Pleasant Point forward, Maturo Siaosi, Point won 37-16.
Point now have 19 points in the competition, Mackenzie 14, Geraldine 6 and Old Boys 4.
In other matches this Saturday, Celtic meet Pleasant Point at Alpine Energy Stadium, Waimate play Geraldine at Raukapuka Reserve in Geraldine, and Old Boys take on Mackenzie at School Park, Timaru.
Matthew Littlewood, May 09 2021
Tim Caird celebrated his 100th senior club rugby match for Waimate on Saturday, but the result did not go his way.
His side lost 37-25 to Celtic at Alpine Energy Stadium, but the Waimate hooker said the team “gave it their all” and he was “humbled” by the messages of support he had received over the past week.
“It’s been pretty awesome to play with these guys,” Caird said.
“We tried our best against Celtic, the players were just spent by the end of it. It was just a few small errors here and there that was the difference in the end.”
Caird, who began his senior rugby career as a flanker but moved to hooker a couple of seasons ago, said he still loved playing for Waimate.
Tim Caird, of Waimate, throws a lineout in his 100th game on Saturday.
“It’s been the only club I’ve ever played for, I started here when I was four and just love playing for these guys,” he said.
“It’s been a good start to the season for us, we’re sitting in fourth place, which is pretty good.”
It was a busy weekend for senior club rugby, with top of the table Harlequins steam rolling Pleasant Point 61-0, Temuka beating a gutsy Mackenzie 31-20, and cellar-dwellers Geraldine and Old Boys’ drawing 21-21.
Harlequins club president Howie Peeti said the side, which scored nine tries on Saturday, was “really starting to click”.
“You can have those games where everything goes right, and this was one of them. I think Pleasant Point played pretty well, we just were really cohesive,” Peeti said.
He said there were several standout players, including first-five Dean Andrews, who scored a try and kicked eight conversions, centre Paula Fifita, who picked up a brace of tries, and flanker Leone Nawalu, who scored three tries.
Waimate's Tenni Tafolo tackles Celtic's Tom Bikaca in their match at Alpine Energy Stadium on Saturday.
“But the real standout for me was full back Jordan Fraser, he really controlled things on the day,” Peeti said.
Old Boys’ coach Aaron Coles said he was disappointed with the draw against Geraldine. The side remains winless this season.
“It was just these little errors, or failing to execute set pieces properly,” Coles said.
“There were some standout players, particularly George Brown at No.8, but we’re still chasing that win.”
Celtic upsets leaders Harlequins in Hamersley Cup
Chris Tobin May 02 2021
Harlequins’ run of victories in Hamersley Cup senior rugby hit a bump on Saturday.
The senior rugby competition leaders went down 27-24 to a fired up Celtic at Timaru’s Alpine Energy Stadium.
It looked to be another game in the bag for Harlequins as they roared in with three early tries during the first 10 minutes, but Celtic fought back.
At half-time Harlequins led 24-17, and it became a tight struggle in the second half.
Harlequins did not help their cause with two players being yellow carded.
“It was not pretty rugby, but we just worked to get field position,” Barnes said.
With 15 minutes to play Harlequins No 8 Siu Kakela was red carded.
Coach Fainga’a Savieti was disappointed.
“We ended up getting beaten, but we beat ourselves. We’ll have to work hard on our discipline. We’ll keep working.”
Celtic scored a late try to even the scores at 24-all, then halfback Willie Wright slotted a penalty in the Harlequins’ 22 to give Celtic victory.
With duck shooting season starting at the weekend some teams played their matches under lights on Thursday night – Geraldine and Mackenzie at Alpine Energy Stadium and Temuka and Pleasant Point at Point.
It was a match to remember for the Geraldine Axemen who recorded their first win in two years beating the Rams 20-18 and taking the Lang Family Trophy.
Temuka prevailed over Pleasant Point 22-10.
Old Boys led early in their match against Waimate at School Park and were still in the match when they went to the break being down 21-16.
They had their moments in the second half but could not score and Waimate ended up winning 52-16.
Harlequins still retain their top spot on the competition ladder on 25 points ahead of Temuka, 24, Celtic and Waimate are both on 20 with Celtic having the better for and against points, Pleasant Point sit on 14, Mackenzie 10, Geraldine 4 and Old Boys on 0.
In the next round, the feature match will be Celtic against Waimate at Alpine Energy Stadium. Pleasant Point host the Harlequins, Temuka play Mackenzie at the Temuka Domain and Old Boys and Geraldine will have a bottom of the table clash at Geraldine.
Chris Tobin Apr 19 2021
Harlequins continue to lead South Canterbury senior club rugby while an intriguing clash looms for Celtic and Temuka.
Harlequins recorded an emphatic 44-11 win over Mackenzie at Timaru’s Alpine Energy Stadium on Saturday to stay top of the table with 19 points and remain unbeaten after four rounds of the competition.
Harlequins club president Howie Peeti said when a team was winning it meant players were enjoying their rugby and morale was high, but the team’s strong start to the season was the culmination of a long build up.
“They’ve been together three years now, and they’re connecting together with combinations. I’ve been with them in changing room sessions at the end of games. They’re really clicking.”
Head coach Fainga’a Savieti said there was still work to do.
An interesting match is in store on Saturday at Alpine Energy Stadium when the team closest to Harlequins in the competition, Celtic, who lie second on 16 points, plays reigning Hamersley Cup champions Temuka, who are third on 15.
Both teams have had one loss but Celtic, courtesy of a bonus point, remain one point ahead of the Magpies.
Celtic had a 57-10 victory over Geraldine on Saturday while Temuka handed Old Boys a 60-7 loss at the Temuka Domain7.
Last year’s beaten finalist, Waimate remain in the hunt after downing Pleasant Point 36-24 to sit on 10 points with Pleasant Point and Mackenzie on nine points each.
It is already proving a hard season for Old Boys and Geraldine who both sit at the bottom of the competition with Old Boys on one point and Geraldine yet to register a point.
In other matches this Saturday, Harlequins will play Old Boys at School Park, Geraldine play Pleasant Point at Geraldine and Waimate play Mackenzie in Waimate.
Harlequins and Celtic early leaders in South Canterbury senior club rugby
Chris Tobin Apr 12 2021
Harlequins look to be the real deal in senior South Canterbury senior club rugby after victories over both of 2020's finalists in the past two rounds.
The victories by "Harlies" over Waimate and the 2020 champions Temuka has relegated the country clubs down the points table to third and sixth respectively after three rounds.
In Waimate on Saturday, Harlequins left “Waimo” supporters gobsmacked by halftime as they raced out to 41-0 halftime lead.
Waimate, the beaten finalists in the 2020 Hamersley Cup final, rallied in the second half to restore some hometown pride, keeping “Harlies” scoreless but the final result, 41-23, was still a thumping surprise.
Harlequins' victory was a week after beating Hamersley Cup holders Temuka 28-19 and have 14 points, three points ahead of the other Timaru based club, Celtic, and one ahead of Temuka thanks to a bonus point.
The Celts had an expected 48-15 win over Old Boys who remain winless and one point ahead of fellow cellar dweller Geraldine at the bottom of the points table.
Temuka took out some of the pain they endured in their loss against Harlequins by hammering Geraldine 95-5 on Geraldine’s home ground.
It has been a difficult start for the Geraldine seniors who now have conceded 221 points and scored only 20.
Mackenzie beat Pleasant Point 14-6 on their home ground on Saturday.
There will be a double header at Alpine Energy Stadium on Saturday when the high-flying Harlequins play Mackenzie on the No 1 ground at 2.45pm and Celtic meet Geraldine on the No 2 ground.
In other matches this Saturday, Pleasant Point will host Waimate and Temuka play Old Boys in Temuka.
Buliruarua breaks Mackenzie hearts with individual brilliance to send Harlequins to Hamersley Cup final
BRAYDEN LINDSAY July 23 2017
Sireli Buliruarua was the toast of the Harlequins dressing room on Sunday evening, after a semifinal their rivals Mackenzie won't forget in a hurry either.The flying winger made a jinking 80 metre dash beating four Mackenzie defenders to score in the corner in the final seconds and send Harlequins into next weekend's Hamersley Cup final, with a 27-23 win.
Harlequins and Mackenzie faced off at Morrison Park, after their clash was delayed 24 hours due to substantial rain in Timaru, which forced a number of sporting cancellations.
Harlies looked dead and buried until Ken Hellier found the line with a minute remaining to give them a sniff, before the heroics were left to Buliruarua.
He showed good strength and pace, to score a try that would go down as one of the best this season.
Harlequins coach Gareth Burgess labelled it "a fantastic try".
"I knew we could still do it. We encourage the boys to play rugby. We've scored tries like that before and at the death and the boys dug deep and did that," he said.
Burgess was full of praise for Mackenzie.
"They're a very very good team. They really came to play today and had us under pressure on numerous occasions."
He said getting to the final was an awesome effort.
"We're pleased to be back there and know how tough Celtic will be. We stuck to our style of play and managed to sneak home."
Sean White opened the scoring with a penalty, and Mackeznie's Jared Trevathan replied soon after.
Harlequins replied with a superb try to Maile I'Ongi, who scored off an over the head pass by No 8 Joseteki Veikune.
Mackenzie struck back with a try to winger Iosefo Senibua, who scored off a poor pass, which he had to turn around to pick up.
The Rams took the front when Ata Ata Langilangi burrowed his way over from close range and Trevathan nailed the wide conversion.
Mackenzie started the second half strongly but Harlequins were first to reply through a Mackenzie mistake, with I'Ongi running 75 metres to score, fending off Senibua on his way to the line.
Trevathan put Mackenzie ahead with a penalty and Senibua bagged his second, following some strong running from Langilangi.
Both teams finished with 14 players as Max Fowler-Burgess and Senibua were shown yellow cards.
Mackenzie coach Hamish Johnson said the team were gutted.
"The boys played really well we just couldn't quite hold on.
"We had three or four chances to tackle him and just couldn't quite do it."
Johnson said they played the way they wanted to, but Harlequins refused to give up.
"We're stoked with the season and how it's gone. The boys are hurting from that loss but we wanted to play in the Hamersley Cup and we're really happy we got there.
"We have a good core of players and that's looking positive for the future."
Harlequins' best were Telusa Latu and Timaru Tafa, who played 80 minutes up front, while Veikune, Vaitilli Tora and Buliruarua were all a handful with ball in hand.
Langilangi, Veikoso Poloniati and Senibua were outstanding for Mackenzie, with Samisoni Puafisi and Trevathan having strong allround games.
Harlequins 27 (Maile I'Ongi 2, Sireli Buliruarua, Ken Hellier tries; Sean White 2 con, pen) Mackenzie 23 (Iosefo Senibua 2, Ata Ata Langilangi tries; Jared Trevathan con, 2 pen). HT: 8-15.
Hamersley Cup Form XV
STU PIDDINGTON July 12 2017
Waimate second five Loni Toumohuni is the surprise package in the Hamersley Cup Form XV with the big man finding some superb late form.
Toumohuni helped the second bottom side beat Mackenzie, draw with Harlequins and give Celtic a big fright in their last three outings.
The Form XV after the second round also threw up some intriguing battles while other spots were hard to fill.
The topsy-turvy state of club rugby has seen some close finishes leaving the Hamersley Cup champions also hard to pick.
Harlequins edged out defending champions Celtic for top spot after the rule book split them, while Temuka only finished a point adrift.
Early favourites Mackenzie scrapped through to the top four but still remain a threat if their big guns fire.
Pleasant Point, Waimate and Geraldine all found some form late in the season making it hard work for the front runners, with individuals also impressing.
Harlequins inform Vatillai Tora grabs the other midfield spot, forcing the star of the first round, Mackenzie Setafano Sauqaqa on to the bench.
Tora has all the skills and is likely to link with Sauqaqa in the South Canterbury midfield, making it one of the most exciting combinations in many years.
The former Buller representative game has however not been as dominant for the Rams as he was shuffled around the backline in the second round, but will remain a big threat in the semi-finals if he recovers from a leg injury.
Sauqaqa's brother Iosefo Senibua and Temuka Kalavini Leatigaga kept their form going from the first round to grab the wings as did Harlequins reliable fullback Sean White.
There is a lack of depth at first five but Waimate's Miles Medlicott has impressed since coming back from injury, while first round pick Willie Wright was not considered as he has been overseas, but will make a timely return on Saturday.
Old Boys Glen Sturgess is the form halfback, edging out Waimate's Irish No.9 Steve Horan in a close call.
Sturgess is very good player but struggles to shine at times behind a beaten Blues pack, while Horan could have been in line for Heartland selection was he not returning home for his brother's wedding.
There was better competition for the forwards especially in the front row and in the loose.
In fact it was hard to leave some decent props and hookers out, with many having a good argument for inclusion.
Celtic's Garret Casey and Graison Dale make it along with Harlequins veteran Timaru Tafa.
Casey has great ball skills for a big man and has got fitter as the season went on, while Dale has also impressed with his all round game.
Tafa never takes a step back and can still sniff out the try line from close range.
Geraldine hooker Marac Beckham along with Pleasant Point's Ben Hewitson and Temuka's Vaka Taelega made the bench leaving Celtic's Matt Fetu and Pleasant Point's JP Koen and Waimate hooker Tokoma'ata Fakatava as the unlucky ones.
The locking stocks are somewhat light but Geraldine co-captain Craig Moore has kept up his form while Sione Tauelangi is still also one of the best in the air despite having debuted for South Canterbury in 2001.
Temuka's Paula Fonokalafi and Pleasant Point's Luke Brice have also impressed but couldn't edge out Moore and Tauelangi.
In the loose forwards Leone Nawalu has impressed for Harlequins at No.8 since coach Gareth Burgess had the inspiration to move him from the midfield.
A physical player he also has the speed to create problems. It unfortunate an injury on Saturday may count him out for the finals.
Temuka's Keith Darby gets the open side after a superb season for the Magpies.
Darby is a great tackler and can also turnover ball at the breakdown but more importantly never has a bad game..
On the blindside Mackenzie's Ata Ata Langi Langi has some x-factor about him and holds out Celtic's impressive Jarred Gilmore.
Others who could have easily made the loose forwards include Geraldine's BJ Oliver along with Pleasant Point's Mana Taylor and Tate Manson.
The others to fill the spots on the forward bench were Waimate's hard working Steve Smith and Harlequins, who can either play at lock or loose forward, while Harlequins Ken Hellier could cover either first or second five.
Agony then ecstasy for Harlequins in Hamersley Cup nail biter
May 28 2017
The final play of the game decided an enthralling encounter between Hamersley Cup leaders Harlequins and defending champions Celtic.
Celtic though they had stolen a win on full time at Alpine Energy Stadium, but Harlequins were given a minute to score by the referee, and fullback Sean White did it in style to take the game 34-29.
Harlequins started off brilliantly against Celtic up 19-0 inside 15 minutes as they spread the ball.
Celtic hooker Graison Dale charges at the Harlequins defence.
The first try was a perfectly executed cross kick by Ken Hellier that found fullback Sean White out wide.
The second was a perfect chip and regain by second five Vatillia Tora and then first five Hellier made a break and just kept going to have defending champions reeling.
Celtic didn't however panic then went back to what they know best, with their forwards started to gain some superiority and hang on to the ball.
Celtic half back Tom Watson waits for the scrum to pack down.
No.8 Tom Fleming pounced loose lineout throw to get Celtic underway.
Harlequins were then lucky not to have a man in a the bin after several punches were thrown.
With 23 minutes gone Harlequins should had then had their fourth, bonus point try, but blew an overlap out wide.
Harlequins first five Ken Hellier heads to the try line.
White then attempted to increase their lead but his shot hit the upright.
Celtic then gained the momentum and a professional defensive foul saw Harlequins wing Maile I'Ongi in the bin and shortly afterwards Fleming had a double after twisting his way over from a 5m scrum.
An entertaining first half was finished off when Harlequins backs then ran riot again with wing Leone Nawalu scoring to have Celtic on the ropes at 24-10.
With just 30 seconds gone in the second half, Celtic were back in the contest when second five Kalifi Latu scored after Hellier's clearance kick was charged down and the bounce favoured the attacking side.
The Celtic pack continued to grind away and they were right back in the game but blew a golden opportunity when they lost the ball over the line.
A penalty to White extended Harlequins lead but Celtic again came back.
In the final 12 minutes there was a flurry of yellow cards that saw Harlequins down to 13 men but then one to Celtic balanced the ledger somewhat.
Hooker Graison Dale scored to close the gap to 27-22 but then it looked as if Harlequins would hang on.
With the scoreboard clock showing 45 minutes gone, Celtic prop Garret Casey got over from a lineout drive, to tie the game.
Celtic first five Henry Race, who had an indifferent day with the boot, stepped up to calmly slot a difficult conversion, for what appeared a Celtic win.
Referee Mike O'Brien was however happy to continue and Harlequin regained the restart and went wide, with Nawalu making a strong run down the right wing and finding fullback White inside him, who scored, then slotted the conversion for a deserved win.
In the end the Harlequins backline showed enough x-factor to defeat the best forward pack in the competition.
Harlequins 34 (Sean White 2, Vatillia Tora, Ken Hellier, Leone Nawalu, White pen, 3 con) Celtic 29 (Tom Fleming 2, Kalifi Latu, Graison Dale, Garret Casey try Henry Race 2 con)
Harlequins pluck the Magpies
The big guns proved their worth with some explosive running for Harlequins as they took Temuka to task in the battle between second and third placed teams. The Magpies fought back late in the game but Harlequins had already wrapped it up, winning 32-18. Top of the table Celtic kept their momentum going taking apart Geraldine 58-0 while Waimate had to setlte for their second draw in two weeks, after a 17-all result against Mackenzie. Old Boys shocked Pleasant Point 37-29 to record their second win of the season. It is not often the Blues grab the Mud Dogs sclap twice in a season. Those results see Celtic remain on top of the Hamersley Cup standings with 39 points, well clear of Temuka on 32 and Harlequins on 31. Mackenzie's failure to topple Waimate means they will face an up hill battle make the top four, with five games left in the round. At the Temuka Domain the home side trailed 25-6 at half time but hadn't played badly, Harlequins had just made the most of every opportunity. The opening minutes saw Temuka first five Ben King-Gee land a penalty but Harlequins bounced straight back with a try to prop Timaru Tafa after he charged at the line. King-Gee's second penalty closed the gap but Scott Norton replied for Harlequins to lead 10-6.