12 Oct 2008

Wellington and Southland into Cup semi-finals

6:23 pm on 12 October 2008

Four semi-final berths in the Air New Zealand rugby cup have been decided after Hawke's Bay beat Waikato to complete the line-up.

Hawkes Bay's held out a stirring second half recovery from Waikato to win 31-28 in Napier on Sunday.

The Magpies got two tries to lead 14-nil after 10 minutes then added two more just before halftime to lead 28-0.

Waikato came back strongly in the second spell, scoring four converted tries, with the hosts only points coming from a penalty goal.

But that was enough for a fourth consecutive win over Waikato and to get Hawke's Bay into the semi-finals for the second year running.

Wellington overcame Taranaki 50-30 in a thrilling quarter-final with the winning margin flattering the Lions on Saturday.

The Lions led 22-13 at half-time at Westpac Stadium but Wellington couldn't shake off Taranaki, whose forwards dominated the breakdown.

Wellington didn't secure victory until the final few minutes when Tamati Ellison scored and then No.8 Thomas Waldrom touched down.

They will front up to Southland for a place in the final after the South Islanders beat Bay of Plenty 45-11 in Mt Maunganui in Saturday's second contest.

On Friday, Canterbury earned their place in the last four of the national provincial championship with a 48-10 win against Tasman in Christchurch.

The red and blacks will face Hawke's Bay for a place in the final.