Canterbury fought off Hawke's Bay, 31-21, in their Air NZ Cup semi-final to move through to the final next weekend against Wellington.
In a tightly contested game, the Magpies proved themselves worthy opponents with the score tied at 14-14 midway through the second half. But the Red n' Blacks' two tries within two minutes of each other sealed the game in Canterbury's favour.
Canterbury will have its work cut out to get the better of Wellington in the final, although the Lions had difficulty putting their stamp on their semi-final with Southland till the last ten minutes, pulling through 28-19.
The underdogs have youth, enthusiasm and determination with a fair amount of skill on their side and that might make all the difference in the final.
Meantime, the Silver Ferns netball team turned up the heat on England in the 3rd and decisive test with a scorching 61-22 win in Palmerston North. Having inexplicably crashed 38-40 against England in the 2nd test after a comprehensive 1st test win, the Silver Ferns pulled things around in time to head off to Australia where a much greater challenge awaits them in the form of the 2007 World Champions in a two test series starting next Sunday.