Northland has been winning games where it counts this season.
Northland Rugby has come back from a string of close losses in the Mitre 10 Cup to land itself a place in the finals.
The reversal of the team’s fortunes started in Kaikohe with a dominant 28-17 win over a strong Waikato side, which at the time was placed second in the premiership.
That was Northland’s final home game of the season. The following week, the Taniwha faced off against Otago in Dunedin.
In an upset match, Northland beat Otago with a convincing 32-19 victory at the Forsyth Barr Stadium. It earned Northland a spot in the championship final.
“Rarely do teams travel so far and succeed, and for Northland it is the first time in 23 years that we have qualified for a final,” Northland Rugby Union chief executive Cameron Bell says.
As Mahurangi Matters went to press, Northland were scheduled to play Hawkes Bay on their home ground in Napier for the final.
The last time the two teams faced off, Northland lost the Ranfurly Shield challenge.
If Northland beats Hawkes Bay, it will have earned itself a promotion from the Championship to the Premiership next season.
Meanwhile, North Harbour will be demoted to the Championship next season after finishing at the bottom of the Premiership standing table.