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Sunday, 26 November 2017 12:30 am

Tawa stage comeback to snatch Jubilee Cup in tough conditions

Tawa RFC celebrating their Jubilee Cup win.

Tawa rugby team and supporters celebrating their Jubilee Cup win.

Tawa overcame being down at half time to win the 2016 Jubilee Cup, beating favourites Marist St Pats in the final at Jerry Collins Park, Porirua.

The tight, bruising game in sub-zero temperatures had spectators desperately trying to keep warm.

Tawa scored the first try within six minutes before Marist St Pats took control with a try and two penalty goals to lead 13-12 at the break.

The game opened up at the 50 minute mark and two Tawa tries put them ahead 24-13 with 22 minutes remaining.

Marist fought back to make it a four-point ball game with 11 minutes left on the clock to set up a grandstand finish.

Despite a yellow card to Tawa’s replacement forward Pati Gaualofa with four minutes left to go, they held on to win their second Jubilee Cup 24-20.

After the game Tawa coach Doug Fletch credited his men’s fitness and ability to find space out wide as the key to the victory.

“The boys started finding some space early in the second half,” he said.

“Put that down to really good fitness and good vision.

“When we started finding space we were able to score some points and take the lead.”

For Marist St Pats it was another heart breaker.

Having lost the final last year they were favoured to win this year after beating twice during the season.

Marist St Pats coach Brendan Reidy was grateful for the support of the Marist supporters coming out in the cold conditions, and vowed that he and his team would be back next year.

“It’s fantastic, a lot of these guys have been following us all year,” he said.

“Without the distraction of the Hurricanes final we might have got a few more people out here.

“We’ve got a loyal following and high expectations and everyone’s disappointed, but we will be back again next year,” he said.

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