Bay of Plenty were rewarded for their willingness to run the ball with a 24-20 ITM Cup victory over Hawke's Bay on Sunday.
Bay of Plenty were rewarded for their willingness to run the ball with a 24-20 ITM Cup victory over Hawke's Bay in Mount Maunganui on Sunday.
Steamers captain Willie Ripia turned down kickable opportunities on many occasions in favour of going for tries and the strategy paid off as his side came from behind to claim the win.
Hawke's Bay were made to pay for ill-discipline, with Bay of Plenty notching up 13 points at one stage of the final quarter while Zac Guildford was in the sin bin.
Telusa Veainu opened the scoring for Hawke's Bay in the 8th minute after a great cut out pass from Magpies first-five Ihaia West had put Kaka Gilles into space.
West added the extras before exchanging penalties with Ripia to see the sides head into the break with the visitors holding a 10-3 ahead.
After turning down a penalty shot, the Steamers notched up their first try when Joe Tupe was driven over the line after a driving maul from 10 metres out.
The game turned in the 56th minute when Guildford was yellow carded for cynical play, allowing Ripia to pick up three points – deviating from the general tactic momentarily – to take Bay of Plenty within two at 11-13.
Ripia then made the decisive move when he split through the Magpies defence to dot down his side's second try and take them into an 18-13 lead.
Another penalty in the 65th minute from Ripia – with Guildford still in the bin – and then five minutes later put further daylight between the two sides.
Hawke's Bay hit back with a try from West after Chris Eaton had burst down the middle, with West converting his own score.
But it was all too late as the Magpies pivot was left regretting the six points he missed from shots at goal while Ripia's penchant for gambling paid off for a change.
For Bay of Plenty:
Tries: Ripia, Tupe
Penalties: Ripia 4
For Hawke's Bay:
Tries: Veainu, West
Conversions: West 2
Penalties: West 2