Playing in their first final for 21 years, Counties Manukau scored eight tries to two, with flying back Tavite Gadeisuva bagging a hattrick and Savelio Ropati crossing twice.
All Blacks Sevens playmaker Augustine Pulu was the only bigname player in coach Darryl Suasua’s team, who led 21-14 at halftime but powered clear with three quick tries early in the second half.
It completed a dominant weekend for Counties Manukau, who won their pool games by an average score of 41-3 on Saturday and thrashed Bay of Plenty 31-10 in the semi-finals. Their toughest challenge came in the quarter-finals, when they pipped Manawatu to the post by winning 21-19.
Pictured above in no particular order are: Josh Van Lieshout – Co-Captain; Vuga Tagicakibau – Co-Captain, Tavite Gadeisuva, Savelio Ropati; Penitoa Finau; Alamanda Motuga; Liam Daniela; Jonathan Taumateine; Sione LJ Molia; Augustine Mad-dog Pulu; Alex Samoa and Lolohea Loco. Pictures by Richard Spranger