Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Rugby: Mount secure formidable victory

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Mount Maunganui Sports fullback Isaac Te Aute beats Steve Honey to score his third try in the trouncing of Tauranga Sports on Saturday. Photo / Andrew Warner
Mount Maunganui Sports fullback Isaac Te Aute beats Steve Honey to score his third try in the trouncing of Tauranga Sports on Saturday. Photo / Andrew Warner

Even the most diehard Drake Mount Maunganui Sports fans would not have predicted the score from the Premier 1 showdown against Tauranga Sports on Saturday.

A win and a chance to continue the form that earned them the round one title, sure. But a record 44-20 thrashing of the defending champions on their home ground at Tauranga Domain? No one saw that coming.

The attacking brilliance of All Blacks Sevens squad member Isaac Te Aute saw him run in three tries, with his last from 50 metres a brilliant individual effort and the final painful blow to Tauranga Sports' pride.

Te Aute's first came from backing up a sharp break through the inside channel by Mount Maunganui first-five Pera Gibbs to open up a 17-0 lead after an early try to No8 Tamanui Hill.

Keepa Mewett got a try back for Tauranga before Te Aute was in again after good work from Danny Kayes to give Mount Maunganui a 22-10 halftime lead.

Tauranga did get to within nine points at one stage, but two late tries sealed their fate.

The scoreline does not indicate how competitive the battle was up front between two good packs with possession evenly shared.

But the backlines are simply miles apart in execution.

Tauranga's season-long sideways shuffle created little impact to get past the strong Mount defence that was well marshalled by midfielders Malakai Kisina, in his 100th game, and Marnus Hanley.

The late withdrawal of Steamers back Nick Evemy was a major loss for Tauranga.

Mount's inside pairing of Jonty Wood and Gibbs again showed they are the form 9/10 combination in the competition with fine games in front of Bay of Plenty coach Clayton McMillan.

Openside flanker Matty Axtens was another standout performer, who has added extra physicality to his game this season.

"To score 44 points on their home ground in front of their home crowd is pretty special," Axtens said.

"It is exciting for the boys as coming into this game we knew it was going to be a hell of a battle. We got the rub of the green and a few individualistic tries and class from Isaac Te Aute and Zar Lawrence.

"That was one of our top two (forward) performances."

Mount Maunganui lead the Premier 1 table after two wins from away games with next Saturday's clash at Blake Park against Te Puke Sports already eagerly awaited.

Te Puke stormed back to form with a 48-20 win over Greerton Marist while Te Puna move into second place after beating Whakatane Marist 46-36 in a try fest. Rangataua and Rotoiti drew 25-25 giving Rotoiti the rare distinction of drawing two consecutive Premier matches.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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