Swindale Shield Winners
Marist St Pat's are the 2014 Swindale Shield champions, thanks to Holden Bros Media for the highlights of the game below.
A spirited MSP beat Tawa 28-21 in front of a bumper crowd in bright sunshine at Kilbirnie Park today, winning the first round title for the first time since 2008 and capturing their 11th Swindale Shield overall.
MSP won eight of their 11 games in the first round, drawing one, losing two and scoring 336 points for and 236 against. They scored 37 tries and conceded 26.
Playmaking first five-eighth Fa'atonu Fili is the leading point scorer so far with 128 points.
MSP are a deserved first round champion after holding off a late charge by the Tawa wolf pack with 14 players after No. 8 Pago Haini was red carded with 18 minutes remaining. MSP now go on to try and emulate Tawa's feats last year of capturing the Swindale Shield - Jubilee Cup double in the same season.
In a match worthy of a final, MSP blew the contest open late in the first half with quickfire tries to left wing Ryan Setefano and centre Cardiff Vaeaga. They led 15-9 at halftime, all Tawa's points coming from boot of first five-eighth James So'oialo.
MSP got ahead 25-9 after 50 minutes after a penalty to first five-eighth Fa'atonu Fili and Sefefano's second try. They very nearly went in again but were cut down after a lovely break up into the 22.
The fourth quarter was tense and willing, Haini being red carded and Tawa coming right back at them. They scored after a forwards drive and then through fullback Randall Bishop in the same corner and it was game on at 25-21.
More outstanding, scrambling defence by MSP held Tawa out and Fili edged them ahead 28-21 with his final penalty.
Heroes for MSP included halfback Peter Sciascia who was outstanding on attack and defence, Fili, flankers Isaac O'Connor and Gabe Papanui, hooker Sefo Setefano and left wing Ryan Setefano who scored two tries and also made at least two try saving tackles late in the game.