Bonus win for Counties Manukau

Date published: September 26 2015

Counties Manukau secured an important 42-33 bonus-point win over Tasman to keep their ITM Cup hopes alive in Pukekohe.

Tasman had only lost once before this year and started brightly when Crusaders back Kieron Fonotia sprinted through a wide open gap to make it 13-3 to the hosts.

Counties though were able to respond as Tasman lost both Robbie Malneek and David Havili to yellow cards.

Scrum-half Richard Judd coasted through for Counties' first try and the visitors took the lead just before half-time after a strong run from Cardiff Vaega.

A third penalty from fly-half Piers Francis meant that Counties were ahead 21-13 by the break.

Marty Banks hit back for Tasman when he broke two tackles and burst through the defence for his side's second try, cutting down Counties' lead to just a single point.

But Counties responded instantly with a try from big replacement lock Sikeli Nabou from short-range.

Two quick penalties from Havili made the score 26-28 before Counties' replacement scrum-half Pete Cowley darted over through the middle of a ruck for his side's bonus-point try with less than 15 minutes to go.

Counties still had time to produce their best try of the contest when Sione Fifta broke through into space running from deep in his own half.

Fifta sucked in the trailing Tasman defenders before applying an extra burst of pace and offloading to Onosa'I Tololima-Auva'a for the clinching try.

Billy Guyton crossed for Tasman in the dying stages, but it was too little too late.

On the back of their win Counties move above Waikato into fifth place, five points behind Taranaki who have a game in hand.

The scorers:

For Tasman:

Tries: Fonotia, Banks, Guyton

Cons: Havili, Banks 2

Pens: Banks 2, Havili 2

Yellow Cards: Malneek, Havili

For Counties:

Tries: Judd, Vaega, Nabou, Cowley, Auvaa

Cons: Francis 2, Walker 2

Pens: Francis 3

Yellow Card: Henwood

Tasman: 15 Robbie Malneek, 14 Viliami Lolohea, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 David Havili, 11 Kade Poki, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Vernon Fredericks, 7 Shane Christie (c), 6 Pete Samu, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Jesse MacDonald, 1 Kane Hames
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Siua Halanukonuka, 18 Tim Perry, 19 Marco Kotze, 20 Tevita Koloamatangi, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Trent Renata, 23 Andrew Goodman.

Counties Manukau: 15 Toni Pulu, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Sam Vaka, 12 Cardiff Vaega, 11 Sione Fifta, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Richard Judd, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Sam Henwood, 6 Daniel Hyatt, 5 Jimmy Tupou, 4 Viliame Rarasea, 3 Jarrod Firth, 2 Gafatasi Su'a, 1 Pauliasi Manu

Replacements: 16 Michael Lea, 17 Sean Bagshaw, 18 Sam Aiono, 19 Sikeli Nabou, 20 Onosa'I Tololima-Auva'a, 21 Pete Cowley, 22 Willie Walker, 23 Jonathan Faauli

Referee: Kane McBride