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By Tom Primmer
Sunnybank have secured their fourth consecutive Women’s Premier Rugby title with a dominant victory over GPS at Ballymore.
The Dragons laid on ten tries to the Galloper’s one in a ruthless display, the side running out 54-5 winners to cap off an undefeated season.
It didn’t take long for the Bankers to open their account, winger Ivania Wong crossing in just the first minute to give Sunnybank a five-point advantage.
A try to Hana ngaha soon followed, the prop crashing over close to the line to put the score out to 10-0.
A heated scuffle in the 20th minute reduced Sunnybank to just 14 women for ten minutes, number-eight Tessa Vaoga yellow-carded for her efforts in the brawl.
Another yellow-card followed soon after as Sunnybank teen superstar Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea was sent from the field following a nasty high-tackle.
After a lengthy period of sustained pressure in the Galloper’s half, Sunnybank secured their third try of the match through scrumhalf Ayane Hirata, the half darting over to send the score to 15-0 at the half-time break.
The Dragons continued to press for points in the opening minutes of the second stanza, Okeroa Manihera finding the stripe with a show and go following a mountain of Sunnybank possession.
Handling errors and turnovers continued to cruel the Galloper’s quest for points in the second half, the Jeeps outfit gifting the potent Sunnybank attack a multitude of attacking opportunities in their own half.
The Bankers soon took advantage of their glut of possession and field position, fullback Samantha Treherne running close to 30 metres to score a brilliant individual try.
Treherne converted her own try to give the Dragons a 27-0 lead with 15 minutes to play.
Sunnybank continued their try-scoring ways towards the back end of the second half, Manihera once again crossing close to the corner post on the back of a Lefau-Fakaosilea cut-out ball.
It was Lefau-Fakaosilea who added the Banker’s next try, the young gun finishing off an expansive backline move to send the score to 37-0.
GPS soon hit back to score their first try, Tessa Vaoga crossing in the corner to add to her two tries in the Galloper’s preliminary final victory over Redlands.
Another Sunnybank try came in the 65th minute, Leilani Fuimaono proving unstoppable close to the line in a barnstorming charge to score.
A perfectly weighted cross-field kick gave Sunnybank another five-pointer, interchange player Renae Niha pouncing on the kick before a series of passes delivered the ball back to her to score.
Sunnybank continued their ruthless streak in the dying seconds of the game, scoring after the siren to put the final score out to 54-5.
The win capped an undefeated season for the Bankers and yet another title for the Sunnybank Women’s side.
23 JANUARY 2019