Hawkes Bay 55
North Harbour 10
Hawkes Bay solidified their push for promotion to the ITM Cup Premiership, showcasing some sparkling attacking play to dispatch North Harbour 55-10 in Napier today.
The Magpies needed a win to remain in touch with Tasman atop the Championship ladder and Harbour, with one win to their name this season, were more than willing to play victim.
The seven tries-to-one victory lifted Hawkes Bay into second spot and left Harbour in second-last, with the gap between the two sides exemplified by the Bay's backs.
Telusa Veainu scored a hat-trick as part of a scintillating display, as the visitors' defence had no answers to a fluid and clinical Hawkes Bay attack, which found continual success in converted their line breaks into scoring opportunities.
Harbour were actually the first to demonstrate their attacking wares, with Francis Saili's class on show to set up Bryn Hall. From there, though, the Hawkes Bay backs - and, in particular, Veainu - took over the contest.
First, the wing stepped through the Harbour defence near halfway and eventually handed off for Andrew Horrell to go under the posts. Then his break down the right led to the try of match, with Michael Allardice going over in the left corner after the ball was spread through several sets of hands.
The Magpies' added to their buffer shortly after the break when Zac Guildford was the beneficiary of a friendly bounce after running onto Alby Mathewson's box kick.
And, after playing his part in two tries, Veainu notched a quick-fire brace of his own to lock up the points. Moments after winning the race to dot down Guildford's perfectly-placed kick, the wing then took advantage of West's counter-attack to score the Magpies' fifth.
Having watched the backs grab all the glory, the forward pack completed the rout when Brendon Edmonds crashed over from close range, before Veainu grabbed completed his hat-trick right on the hooter.
Hawkes Bay 55 (Horrell, Allardice, Guildford, Veainu 3, Edmonds tries; West 4 pens, 3 cons, Horrell con)
North Harbour 10 (Hall try; Elrick con, pen)