Rugby: Sub takes Bay side to clean sweep

By Shane Hurndell

With 10 minutes remaining in Saturday's Hurricanes under-20 rugby final in Palmerston North, Hawke's Bay's substitute loosie Liam Murphy was relayed his instructions from co-coaches Joe Payton and Dan Somerville.

"Get out there and do something special," Murphy was told via manager Blair Heasley's sideline walkie talkie.

With Alexander Construction Hawke's Bay trailing 17-13 and the 81st minute showing on the FMG Stadium clock, Murphy took the ball in a pick and go situation and dived over from four metres out for the match-winning try. Not only did the try give Hawke's Bay the title - it also saw the Bay become the first side to complete an unbeaten run in the history of the competition.

"I'm still a bit speechless," Murphy said after his captain and New Zealand under-20s hooker Rhys Marshall collected the Peter Loomes Shield. "That has to be something special. Considering I was only called into the team as a late replacement I couldn't be happier," Murphy added, referring to the fact he got the call after Napier Old Boys Marist premier loosie Sean Skeet broke his leg in club rugby.

A Hastings Rugby and Sports Development grade and premier grade player, 19-year-old Murphy said that after experiencing three losing Hurricanes finals to Wellington, one at under-16 level and two at under-18 level, Saturday's victory had a sweet taste.

Heasley praised both Murphy's crucial contribution and the overall team effort.

"Liam came up with something special but the whole campaign has been pretty special," Heasley said as he tidied the team's subs area.

"The brotherhood within the squad shone through as we came from behind more than once in the final. All of the team deserve praise for their defensive effort and I would like to think we will get at least three or four players to the New Zealand under-20 trials."

Winger Zane Crook scored the Bay's other try. His Napier Technical clubmate and 2011 New Zealand Secondary Schools halfback Sheridan Rangihuna kicked two penalties and a conversion.

Marshall and No8 Levi Guildford were again inspirational in the Bay pack. Second-five Ted Walters was a rock on defence and always a threat on attack, while the versatile Tamati Samuels provided classy impact off the bench as a winger.

Equally as thrilled as Murphy was co-coach Somerville.

"There's some justice for last year," Somerville said, referring to the fact the Hawke's Bay under-16 side he was co-coach of last year was pipped in the final minute of their final against Wellington in New Plymouth.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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