The second semi-final of the day saw Bucks take on Tankards. Within the 1st minute of the kick off, Bucks secured a penalty inside Tankards’ half, which was effortlessly slotted home by flyhalf Luca Mignot to lead by 3 points. With less than 5 minutes on the clock, Bucks lost prop Justin Tiljaard with a major injury, and that stoppage seemed to spur the Tankards on, with inside centre Sidney Kumar breaking through and releasing winger Jay-Hykel to score under the post to edge past Bucks 7 – 3.
By now, ex national team centre Sidney Kumar has shown himself to be one of the best player on the pitch, making promising breaks one after the other. As the 1st half edged past its halfway mark, it become clear that Tankards had a dominant forward pack and soon struck again, this time from an attacking lineout. Tankards’ winger Valu Raturibi made a half break from the lineout and gave a beautiful offload to Sidney Kumar to dot down for a converted try. Bucks suffered another injury with outside centre Jonny Carswell coming off after some spirited defence. Tankards continued turning on the heat on Bucks, with Valu Raturibi breaking through to extend the lead to 21-3 going into the halftime break.
As the 2nd half kicked off, Bucks seized the early initiative. No 8 Alex Cook bashed over from a quick tap to narrow the lead to 11 points. Valu Raturibi made up for that by scoring his second try of the game to extend the lead to 28 – 10. Another quick tap from a penalty saw Bucks going over for another try to reduce the lead back to 11 points. Towards the last 10 minutes of the game, Tankards finally began to re-establish their footing in the match again. A nice inside pass between the Tankards forwards almost led to a try, but the pass was deemed to be forward. Bucks had started the second half strongly and sought to end the game in a similar fashion, breaking the Tankards line for a certain score, only to drop it with the try line in sight. With that, the Tankards edged out Bucks with a final score of 28 -17.
Once again, we would like to congratulate Kings as well as Tankards for progressing into the grand final of the Men’s Championships 2017/18! See you really soon at Queenstown stadium as the Men’s Championships reaches its climax with the final between Kings and Tankards! We cannot wait for their epic showdown!