Magpies claim Ranfurly Shield

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Magpies win Ranfurly Shield.
Magpies win Ranfurly Shield.

Counties Manukau 21
Hawke's Bay 27

The Ranfurly Shield returns to Napier for the second time in as many seasons.

Counties Manukau enjoyed their six-game, 12-month tenure, but had to cede to a superior, hungry Hawke's Bay outfit before a crowd of around 6500 in Pukekohe, though not without a rousing late comeback.

This was the fourth occasion this season that a Championship side had beaten a Premiership opponent, but the Magpies would not have cared a jot for that stat.

The high balls rained down and there were no less than three tries from lineout drives, while the Steelers tried unsuccessfully to fashion a winning one from their final lineout.

The match exploded in the opening minute when dangerous Magpies left wing Ryan Togia appeared to score in the left corner, only for the TMO to rule that he did not exert sufficient control of the ball. Lock Mark Abbott should have scored but was divested of the ball soon afterwards.

Undeterred, the visitors made it count when captain Brendon O'Connor dived over off a lineout drive that looked all too easy, this after Ahsee Tuala had opened the scoring with a penalty goal. Incredibly, less than 10 minutes later, O'Connor was over in identical fashion for his double.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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