Maximum for Counties Manukau

Date published: October 4 2014

Counties Manukau picked up a much-needed five points to keep their slim hopes of making the ITM Cup semi-finals alive at Invercargill.

Counties Manukau picked up a much-needed five points to keep their slim hopes of making the ITM Cup semi-finals alive at Invercargill.

Crusaders back-rower Jordan Taufua bagged the bonus-point try in the 69th minute for the visitors to secure the 24-10 result.

The Steelers scored three tries in the second half having trailed a cagey opening 40 minutes 7-5 at the break.

Even then, the second half was far from simple. Counties broke out with long-range attacks to score their tries after being make to work in defence.

An outstanding effort in atrocious weather, Counties continued their rampant try scoring form in the opening exchanges when they struck with captain Onosa’i Auva’a muscling over from close range.

The hosts seized the extra man advantage when the found the breakthrough with wing Brad Milne capped a superb backline move that saw the Stags take the lead.

A bit of individual brilliance by Steelers full-back Tim Nanai-Williams made something of nothing and split open the Stags defence as he raced 50 metres to score the try regain the advantage.

Southland soon pinned the Steelers back down in their own territory and replied with three points from the boot of Stags’ Scott Eade to level the scores at 10-10.

As the contest surged on Counties began to lift their intensity forcing Southland to defend, although a poor lineout close to their own try line saw half-back August Pulu snatch an easy try.

Minutes later, the Steelers racked up their bonus point try when forwards and backs worked collectively to maul over the line with loose forward Taufua getting the reward.

The scorers:

For Southland:
Try: Milne
Con: Eade
Pen: Eade

For Counties Manukau:
Tries: Auva’a, Nanai-Williams, Pulu, Taufua
Cons: Tuala 2
Yellow Card: Manu

Southland: 15 Mark Jackman, 14 Bryan Milne, 13 Cardiff Vaega, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Otulea Katoa, 10 Jamie Verran, 9 Scott Eade, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 Tim Boys, 6 John Hardie, 5 Craig Smith, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 JP Koen, 2 Tua Tuapati, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (capt).
Replacements: 16 Dillan Halaholo, 17 Morgan Mitchell, 18 Michael Fatialofa, 19 Alex Taylor, 20 Tayler Adams, 21 Junior Ngaluafe, 22 Keanu Kahukura.

Counties: 15 Tim Nanai-Williams, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rey Lee-lo, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Ahsee Tuala, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Onosa’i Auva’a (c), 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Jimmy Tupou, 4 Sikeli Nabou, 3 Jarrod Firth, 2 Suliasi Taufalele, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Sione Anga’aelangi, 17 Sam Aiono, 18 Sean Bagshaw, 19 Viliami Rarasea, 20 Dan Hyatt, 21 Kane Hancy, 22 Andy Murihead.

Referee: Brendon Pickerill