Hawke’s Bay retained the Ranfurly Shield after securing a deserved 36-14 win over Wellington in Napier on Thursday.
Wellington were competitive during the early stages and, despite a converted try from Gareth Evans for Hawke’s Bay, held a 9-7 lead – thanks to three Willia Ripia penalties.
However, things went pear-shaped for the visitors when Vaea Fifita was yellow-carded for not using his arms in a tackle on Evans in the 37th minute.
Hawke’s Bay made their numerical advantage count and Brendon O’Connor scored their second try shortly afterwards which gave the hosts a 14-9 lead at the break.
With Fifita still in the sin bin, the Magpies continued to dominate after the restart and Ryan Tongia and Tony Lamborn also crossed over for tries while Wellington during this period.
Tongia crossed over for his second five-pointer in the 64th minute before Matt Proctor scored a consolation try for Wellington 10 minutes later, but Hawke’s Bay sealed the win via a Matt Berquist penalty shortly before full-time.
For Hawke’s Bay:
Tries: Tongia 2, Evans, O’Connor, Lamborn
Con: West 4
Pen: Ripia 3
Yellow card: Fifita (illegal tackle, 37th minute)
Hawke’s Bay: 15 Richard Buckman, 14 Ryan Tongia, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Shannan Chase, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Chris Eaton, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Brendon O’Connor (c), 6 Tony Lamborn, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Michael Allardice, 3 Jason Marshall, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Brendon Edmonds.
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Adrian Barone, 18 Tom Parsons, 19 Trent Boswell-Wakefield, 20 Ellery Wilson, 21 Mikey Vuicakau, 22 Matt Berquist.
Wellington: 15 Matt Proctor, 14 Jason Woodward, 13 Marvin Karawana, 12 Ope Peleseuma, 11 Ambrose Curtis, 10 Willie Ripia, 9 Sheridan Rangihuna, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Adam Hill, 6 Brad Shields (c), 5 Ross Filipo, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Eric Sione, 2 Motu Matu’u, 1 Tolu Fahamokioa.
Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Taniela Koroi, 18 James Wall, 19 Pau Halafihi, 20 Frae Wilson, 21 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 22 Tu Umaga-Marshall.
Referee: Glen Jackson