Magpies too good for Steelers

Date published: August 28 2015

Hawke's Bay made it three wins from three in the ITM Cup this season as they saw off Premiership opposition Counties Manukau 35-11 on Friday.

The result leaves the in-form Magpies six points ahead of Wellington in the Championship while the Steelers lose ground on their top flight rivals.

Mark Abbott, Andrew Horrell, Zac Guildford and Shannan Chase scored Hawke's Bay's tries while Maama Vaipulu responded for Counties Manukau.

The Magpies were the more clinical and streetwise side throughout the contest as they took points when on offer and capitalised in the red zone.

Ihaia West drilled them in front on five minutes from the tee but opposite number Piers Francis levelled thirteen minutes later for the home side.

It was fairly even at that point but with a superior and well balanced backline, the Magpies were able to work themselves into a good position. They were initially held up over the line with a driving maul and soon after Guildford was penalised for double movement. West kicked over three points from an earlier scrum offence though, which was a welcome consolation that pushed them back in front after 23 minutes.

The Magpies didn't have to wait too long for their first try though as second-row Abbott ran a good line on the half-hour mark to make it 13-3.

Hawke's Bay extended that margin to seventeen points before the turnaround after excellent work from centre Richard Buckman set up Horrell wide out. With fly-half West not looking like missing, the task facing the Steelers heading into the changing room looked to be a very difficult one.

So it proved as the Magpies added their third try on 47 minutes after Francis and West had traded penalties, with the score now 30-6 and the contest as good as over. It came from an intercept claimed by Guildford who showed his experience by keeping himself in-field while grounding.

Guildford came close to getting a double soon after but was denied due to obstruction and was then lucky to go unpunished after a clear tip tackle on Counties replacement Cardiff Vaega. Somehow it wasn't spotted by the match officials and he stayed on the field until being replaced late on.

All that remained for Hawke's Bay was to go looking for the bonus-point and they secured that in the 76th minute when hooker Ash Dixon set up left wing Shannan Chase to add the gloss to another impressive Magpies performance.

The scorers:

For Counties:
Try: Vaipulu
Pens: Francis 2

For Hawke's Bay:
Tries: Abbott, Horrell, Guildford, Chase
Cons: West 3
Pens: West 3

Counties Manukau: 15 Toni Pulu, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Sam Vaka, 12 Johnny Fa'auli, 11 Sione Fifita, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Richard Judd, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Onosa'i Auva'a, 6 Jimmy Tupou (c), 5 Viliame Rarasea, 4 Sikeli Nabou, 3 Jarrod Firth, 2 Michael Lea, 1 Sean Bagshaw.
Replacements: 16 Gafatasi Su'a, 17 John Tu'ungafasi, 18 Sam Aiono, 19 Dan Hyatt, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Kane Hancy, 22 Nathan de Thierry, 23 Cardiff Vaega.

Hawke's Bay: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Zac Guildford, 13 Richard Buckman, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Shannan Chase, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Ellery Wilson, 8 Brendon O'Connor (c), 7 Tom Stanley, 6 Tony Lamborn, 5 Michael Allardice, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Brendon Edmonds.
Replacements: 16 Jorian Tangaere, 17 Tolu Fahamokioa, 18 Mark Braidwood, 19 Sanaila Waqa, 20 Trent Boswell-Wakefield, 21 Chris Eaton, 22 Billy Ropiha, 23 Ryan Tongia.

Referee: Aki Aso