Manawatu were crowned Championship winners after beating Hawke’s Bay 32-24 in a thrilling final in Palmerston North on Friday.
Manawatu were crowned ITM Cup Championship winners after beating Hawke’s Bay 32-24 in a thrilling final in Palmerston North on Friday.
The match was a topsy-turvy affair in which the lead changed hands on several occasions but two late tries from Jason Emery and Nathan Tudreu sealed the Turbos’ win.
Emery scored what proved to be the matchwinning try in the 76th minute after the Turbos were camped close to Hawke’s Bay’s try-line and Tudreu added the final nail in Hawke’s Bay’s coffin with a runaway try shortly before the final hooter.
Earlier, Manawatu got off to a fine start and took the lead in the 12th minute, via a Otere Black penalty after Hawke’s Bay’s backs were penalised for straying offside on defence.
The game came alive in the 16th minute thanks to a moment of brilliance from Ihaia West, who gave the visitors the lead thanks to a superb solo try. West attacked from a scrum, midway between Manawatu’s 22 and the halfway line, and beat five defenders before crashing over.
The Magpies’ dominance and they doubled their lead in the 25th minute when Shannan Chase crossed over for their second try after Robbie Fruean started a counter-attack from close to the halfway mark.
Fruean offloaded to Tony Lamborn who drew in a couple of defenders before offloading to Chase, who stepped inside the cover defence before dotting down.
Manawatu suffered a further setback shortly afterwards when veteran hooker Rob Foreman – who was playing in his 100th match for the Turbos – was forced off the field through injury.
The hosts narrowed the deficit to eight points when Black slotted another penalty, after Ash Dixon was penalised for not releasing a tackled player.
Manawatu finished the half stronger and spent most of its closing stages camped inside the Magpies’ 22. They had nothing to show for their attacking endeavour, however, as Hawke’s Bay’s defence kept them out and a penalty attempt from Black struck an upright.
The Turbos continued where they left off after the break and they were soon rewarded. Kayne Hammington crossed over for their opening try in the 43rd minute after running on to an inside pass from Nick Crosswell inside the Magpies’ 22. This, after they launched an attack from deep inside their half which saw the ball going through several pairs of hands.
Black converted to make the score 14-13 but West added another penalty in the 49th minute, after the Turbos were penalised for a rugby infringement.
The home side took the lead for the first time, since Black’s opening penalty, when Nehe Milner-Skudder got their second try after shrugging off two poor tackles from Chase and Jason Shoemark.
With time running out on the clock, the Magpies didn’t surrender and they soon regained the lead when Chase scord his second five-pointer in the 70th minute.
Thisafter West and Mark Abbott combined brilliantly in the build-up. The visitors were now leading 24-20 but the home side’s late heroics clinched their victory and sealed their promotion to next year’s Premier Division.
Tries: Hammington, Milner-Skudder, Emery, Tudreu
Cons: Black 2, Te Rure
Pens: Black 2
For Hawke’s Bay:
Tries: West, Chase 2
Cons: West 2
Manawatu: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Nathan Tudreu, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Hamish Northcott, 11 Semisi Masirewa, 10 Otere Black, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Nick Crosswell, 7 Callum Gibbins (c), 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Keepa Mewett, 4 Fraser Stone, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 2 Rob Foreman, 1 Hubert Buydens.
Replacements: 16 Nick Grogan, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Tom Hughes, 19 Antonio Kiri Kiri, 20 Jamie Booth, 21 Jade Te Rure, 22 Newton Tudreu.
Hawke’s Bay: 15 Matt Berquist, 14 Ryan Tongia, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Shannan Chase, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Chris Eaton, 8 Brendon O’Connor (c), 7 Tony Lamborn, 6 Trent Boswell-Wakefield, 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 Mark Atkins, 20 Ellery Wilson, 21 Ted Walters,22 Mikey Vuicakau.