Hawke's Bay pulled off a last-gasp 42-41 ITM Cup win over Bay of Plenty thanks to a converted try by Ihaia West in injury time.
Hawke's Bay pulled off a last-gasp 42-41 ITM Cup win over Bay of Plenty after replacement back Ihaia West scored a converted try three minutes into injury time.
A whopping 11 tries were produced – six to Hawke's Bay (including a penalty try) and five to the Steamers – in the 'Battle of the Bays' with Gillies Kaka picking up a hat-trick for the home side.
The Steamers, who were in front for the majority of the match, thought they had the game in the bag after replacement Chris Noakes slotted over a penalty to extend his side's lead to six points (41-35) with six minutes remaining.
However, the hosts never gave up and capped off a highly entertaining spectacle with a superb try at the death to keep their hopes of avoiding relegation alive.
Following two three-pointers from Magpies pivot Dan Waenga, Steamers flanker Sam Cane burrowed over from close range after 12 minutes for the opening try of the match.
Hawke's Bay hit back through a sensational try from Kaka – showing pace, agility and withering soccer skills – to score from 70m out that will go down as one of the tries of the season.
The visitors then crossed for two quickfire tries to fly-half Nick McCashin and winger Maru Henry – the second thanks to a superb run and offload from Cane, who released by the All Blacks to get game-time before departing with the Test squad for Argentina.
The home side then were awarded a penalty try just before half-time, with opposition skipper Tanerau Latimer yellow-carded for pulling down a maul.
But despite being a man down, the Steamers built what looked like a comfortable lead after Lelia Masaga and Phil Burleigh added their name to the scoresheet to give their team a handy 38-23 lead.
But Hawke's Bay hit back when flanker Tevita Fomai scored then Kaka grabbed his third five-pointer before West produced his killer blow.
For Hawke's Bay:
Tries: Fomai, Kaka 3, West
Cons: Waenga, West
Pens: Waenga 2, West
For Bay of Plenty:
Tries: Cane, McCashin, Henry, Burleigh, Masaga
Cons: McCashin 5
Pens: McCashin, Noakes
Hawke's Bay: 15 Andrew Horrell, 14 Gillies Kaka, 13 Marvin Karawana, 12 Tua Saseve, 11 Penikolo Latu, 10 Daniel Waenga, 9 Chris Eaton,8 Mike Coman (c), 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Tevita Fomai, 5 Johan Schoonbee, 4 Ross Kennedy,3 Peter Borlase, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Adrian Barone.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Brendon Edmonds, 18 Tom Parsons, 19 Kieran Coll, 20 Isaac Paewai, 21 Ihaia West, 22 Nick McLennan.
Bay of Plenty: 15 Lance MacDonald, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Kenny Lynn, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Maru Henry, 10 Nick McCashin, 9 Josh Hall, 8 Luke Braid, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Tanerau Latimer, 5 Leon Power, 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Dan Perrin, 1 Greg Pleasants-Tate.
Replacements: 16 John Pareanga, 17 Tristan Moran, 18 Dan Goodwin, 19 Carl Axtens, 20 Lewis Hancock, 21 Chris Noakes, 22 Mafi Kefu.
Referee: Mike Fraser