Hawke's Bay continued on their recent run of form by overcoming North Harbour 36-21 in a fine comeback win in Napier on Sunday.
Hawke's Bay continued their recent good run of form by overcoming North Harbour 36-21 in a comeback win at McLean Park in Napier on Sunday.
The home side's win was largely down to a purple patch when they scored 29 unanswered points that wiped out Harbour's 16-0 lead early on.
Even with the comeback of prop Tony Woodcock, Harbour were left to lick their wounds following a third straight defeat in the competition.
Harbour's bright start though did leave them ten points to the good when Chris Smylie crossed before Mike Harris added five from the tee.
Harris then kicked two more three-pointers to extend the lead, that was until Hawke's Bay finally came to life.
A nice move involving Ryan McLeod and Kahn Fotuali'i was the catalyst in the move that allowed Zac Guildford to cross. Richard Buckman adding the two.
Then flanker Michael Johnson joined the party for seven points that cut the lead down to two at the half-time interval.
But upon the turnaround came more scores from McLeod before scrum-half Chris Eaton got over to make Harbour replacement Josh York's try a consolation for the visitors.
For Hawke's Bay:
Tries: Guildford, Johnson, Coman, McLeod, Eaton
Con: Buckman 3, Jackman
For North Harbour:
Tries: Smylie, York
Hawke's Bay: 15 Zac Guildford, 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Jason Shoemark (c), 12 Ryan McLeod, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Kahn Fotuali'i, 9 Chris Eaton, 8 Mike Coman, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Michael Johnson, 5 Ross Kennedy, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Hikawera Elliot, 1 Kas Lealamanua.
Replacements: 16 Eugene Smith, 17 Clint Newland, 18 Leighton Price, 19 Trent Boswell-Wakefield, 20 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 21 Gillies Kaka, 22 Mark Jackman.
North Harbour: 15 Jack McPhee, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 Jack Tarrant, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Nafi Tuitavake, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Chris Smylie (c), 8 Matt Luamanu, 7 Malakai Ravulo, 6 Tom Chamberlain, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Anthony Boric, 3 Ben Afeaki/James Afoa, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Manu Leiataua, 17 Afoa or Taione Vea, 18 James King, 19 Richard Mayhew, 20 Grayson Hart, 21 Nico Ratumaitavuki, 22 Josh York.
Referee: Keith Brown