Blues secure back-to-back titles

MSP's Blues are the champions of Wellington under-85 kg rugby after they took out the division 1 title with an 11-3 win over Poneke in the final on 27 August. It's the second year in a row they have won the Paul Potiki Shield and it followed an outstanding game of rugby at Evans Bay Park.

The quality of the match mirrored a brilliantly fine day, with the Blues on attack from the outset. Superb Poneke defence kept them out for most of the half, the defensive efforts of both sides being a feature of the game.

The key moment came 25 minutes into the half when stand-out No 8 Mark Rumble tapped and and scored from a five-metre penalty. Soon after, fullback Mark Houghton landed a penalty to give MSP an 8-0 halftime lead.

Both teams moved the ball brilliantly at times in the second half, desperate to score the decisive points. MSP missed a number of shots at goal and when Poneke landed a penalty to close it to 8-3 with five minutes to go, the MSP supporters in the big crowd started to feel a little nervous. However, MSP responded immediately with another penalty in the next play.

It was a deserved win because despite a willing effort by Poneke, the classy and well-drilled MSP side looked more dangerous throughout. The win completes a great season for the Andrew Robinson-coached team, with just the one loss - 10-12 to Poneke three weeks ago - in 21 games.

It also wraps up a great year for MSP under-85 rugby, with the Blues taking the division 1 title, the Reds taking division 2, and the Greens finalists in division 3.

[Thanks to Michael Holden for the video highlights. He's also produced a clip of the colts' finals victory over Ories on 6 August, and an 'About MSP' promotional video.]

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