18 Oct 2009

Air NZ Cup semi-final line-up starting to take shape

12:05 pm on 18 October 2009

Three unanswered second half tries have given Wellington a 37-13 win over North Harbour in their Air New Zealand cup rugby match and a chance of a home semi-final.

It was 13-13 at half time, with tries to Harbour wing Nafi Tuitavake and Lions captain Jacob Ellison.

Alapati Leuia, Ma'a Nonu and Hosea Gear crossed in the second spell, and Faatonu Fili's boot kicked the rest of the points for the home side.

Wellington halfback Piri Weepu, returning from injury and making a late bid for a place on the end of year All Blacks tour, seemed untroubled by the ankle that has kept him off the park recently.

The win means Wellington could well finish second on the table behind Canterbury and host a home semi at Westpac Stadium, providing they can beat Tasman on Friday.

Waikato need a win against Northland in Hamilton to stake a firm claim on a semi-final spot.

Otago have their fourth win of the season, led by an outstanding forward effort, beating Tasman 21-0 in their round 12 match in Dunedin.

The southerners completely dominated the first half, going to half-time ahead 21-0 thanks to tries to loosehead prop Ben Nolan and centre Aaron Bancroft, three penalties from Glen Dickson and a Michael Witt conversion.

Five minutes before the break, Otago hooker Peter Mirrielees and Tasman's loosehead lock Alex Ainley were sinbinned carded for fighting.

Tasman lifted their effort in the second half, but despite determined efforts by both sides in the slippery conditions at Carisbrook, there was no score in the second half and the game ended 21-nil to Otago.

With only one round to go before the finals, neither Otago nor Tasman is in contention for the last four.