Counties stun the Lions

08th Aug 2010, 12:28

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Ahsee Tuala: Two tries

Ahsee Tuala: Two tries

Counties Manukau's dream start to the ITM Cup continued on Sunday with a 31-25 win over Wellington in Wellington.

Counties Manukau's dream start to the ITM Cup continued on Sunday with a 31-25 win over Wellington in Wellington.

The visitors led from the start and had racked up a 23-3 lead by half-time. Wellington fought back into the match but had left themselves too much to do.

Counties fly-half Baden Kerr was in full control from the start and kept Wellingotn pinned in their own half for long periods as the home side wasted a glut of possession.

Eventually, centre Reynold Lee-lo scored the first try, racing in under the sticks from a 5m scrum.

Wellington fly-half Fa'atonu Fili was not in control, missing a howler from in front of the posts and as Wellington grew more desperate, Alapati Leuia's pass was intercepted by wing Ahsee Tuala who scorched 55 metres to score unopposed.

Kerr converted both tries and added a penalty on 26 minutes to make it 17-0 and the fly-hales exchanged penalties - two to Kerr and one to Fili - as the game tightened up a bit.

Kerr extended the advantage to 26-3 shortly after the break, but then Wellington clicked.

Fili slotted a penalty and then Gear finished off a great sweeping counter-attacking move that involved Apoua Stewart, Fili and Treeby, the left wing showing speed and strength to beat Tim Nanai-Williams and score in the corner.

Five minutes later and second five-eighth Treeby was rewarded for a solid performance with a try under the posts after a nice pop-up pass by Ngatai had put him in the gap.

Fili added the conversion to reduce the deficit to just eight.

It was short-lived though as Wellington coughed up the ball at the ruck again and Tuala tore down the right wing to score his second of the afternoon.

Ngatai grabbed a late consolation try and Cripps' conversion meant Wellington took a bonus point from the game, but precious little else.

The scorers:

For Wellington:
Tries: Gear, Treeby, Ngatai
Cons: Fili, Cripps
Pens: Fili 2

For Counties:
Tries: Lee-lo, Tuala 2
Cons: Kerr 2
Pens: Kerr 4

Wellington:15 Apoua Stewart, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Alipate Leiua, 12 Sean Treeby, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Fa'atonu Fili, 9 Ruki Tipuna, 8 Faifili Levave, 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Api Naikatini, 5 Daniel Ramsay, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Neemia Tialata (c), 2 Dane Coles, 1 Red Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Justin Va'a, 18 TJ Ioane, 19 Masefau Leuluniu, 20 Jared Kahu, 21 Hayden Cripps, 22 Charlie Ngatai.

Counties Manukau: 15 Tim Nanai Williams 14 Ahsee Tuala, 13 Siale Piutau, 12 Reynold Lee-Lo, 11 Sherwin Stowers, 10 Baden Kerr, 9 August Pulu, 8 Viliami Fihaki, 7 Pep Koloamatangi, 6 Fritz Lee, 5 Jamie Chipman, 4 aiasina Tuifua, 3 Jono Owen, 2 Grant Henson, 1 Simon Lemalu.
Replacements: 16 Mark Price, 17 Jeremiah Fatialofa, 18 Ronald Raaymakers, 19 Mark Selwyn, 20 Samisoni Fisilau, 21 James Semple, 22 David Raikuna.

Referee: Shaun Elliott