Bay of Plenty recorded their second win of the ITM Cup season on Sunday thanks to a 39-29 win over North Harbour in Rotorua.
Bay of Plenty recorded their second win of the ITM Cup season on Sunday with an entertaining 39-29 victory over North Harbour in Rotorua.
Most of New Zealand would no doubt have been watching the form of pivot Luke McAlister ahead of the country's clash with Australia in a fortnight, but it was Mike Delany who was the better fly-half.
Lelia Masaga ultimately stole the show though with his finishing seeing him get over three times.
It was a much-needed five points for Bay of Plenty after their sluggish start to the term and Masaga's showing must have caught Graham Henry's eye.
This was no ordinary game of rugby though as the kick-off was delayed due to a cross-bar falling on the head of prop Matt Luamanu. Later on there was also a switch of referee as Shaun Elliott was replaced by Bryce Lawrence due to a calf injury.
But despite his strong performance in general, Delany could not hit the target for the first three of his attempts at goal but did have a hand in James McGougan's try on fourteen minutes after putting centre Phil Burliegh in the clear.
The lead was then extended when powerful flanker Tanerau Latimer carried well before handing on to his back-row colleague Luke Braid, who just made it to the line.
But that score seemed to spark North Harbour into life as scrum-half Chris Smylie and McAlister combined to create a score for centre Jack Tarrant.That however led to Delany finally getting his first points of the game with a penalty on 25 minutes.
Lance MacDonald then went over for a fine try on the half-hour following good work from Brett Mather but then came another response from North Harbour. And it was again McAlister involved, this time making a break that ultimately saw Anthony Boric cross.
Hard-working hooker James Parsons added to Boric's five points when he scored after initial good work from Tom Chamberlain, with Harris' two making it a one-point ball game.
But then came the Masaga show as good work from Colin Bourke allowed the winger to go in for his first of three scores in the middle of a Harris penalty. His second five-pointer arrived after scrum-half Taniela Moa tapped and went with Delany adding a further two to the tally before Burleigh handed his winger a third score with fifteen minutes remaining.
Nafi Tuitavake did pick up a try bonus-point for North Harbour just three minutes from time but it was to only act as consolation as the game was already decided.
For Bay of Plenty:
Tries: Burleigh, Braid, MacDonald, Masaga 3
Con: Delany 3
For North Harbour:
Tries: Tarrant, Boric, Parsons, Tuitavake
Con: McAlister, Harris 2
Bay of Plenty: 15 Toby Arnold, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Brett Mather, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Lance MacDonald, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Taniela Moa, 8 Colin Bourke (c), 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Luke Braid, 5 Aiden Kuka, 4 Luke Andrews, 3 James McGougan, 2 John Pareanga, 1 Josh Hohneck.
Replacements: 16 Simon Chisholm, 17 Savage/McGougan, 18 Culum Retallick, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Chad Tuoro, 21 Daniel Waenga, 22 Ben W Smith/Jason Hona.
North Harbour: 15 Jack McPhee, 14 Alipate Fatafehi, 13 Jack Tarrant, 12 Brendon Watt, 11 Ken Pisi, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Richard Mayhew, 7 Malakai Ravulo, 6 Tom Chamberklain, 5 Anthony Boric, 4 James King, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 James Parsons, 1 Michael Reid (c).
Replacements: 16 Mike Mayhew, 17 Taione Vea, 18 Filo Paulo, 19 Matt Luamanu, 20 Grayson Hart, 21 Michael Harris, 22 Nafi Tuitavake.