The Hawke's Bay Magpies' 53-10 loss to Canterbury in their third-round Mitre 10 Cup clash at Napier's McLean Park tonight wasn't the result captain Ash Dixon deserved on his 29th birthday.
The Magpies trailed 13-10 at halftime after their best 40 minutes of the season. However, injuries again took their toll on the hosts who lost No 8 Marino Mikaele-Tu'u in the 24th minute with a suspected rib injury and hooker Dixon just before halftime with a hip injury.
Hawke's Bay opened the scoring in the third minute with a penalty to first five-eighth Ihaia West. The Cantabs replied with a 10th-minute converted try to first five-eighth Brett Cameron who added penalties in the 21st and 38th minutes.
Loosie Hugh Renton scored the Magpies' only try of the first half in the 35th minute which West converted.
The Magpies were dealt a major blow when centre Cardiff Vaega dropped the kickoff at the start of the second half and winger Marshall Suckling scored four phases later. Cameron was again on target with the extras.
Suckling scored his second try 10 minutes later after collecting a clever cross-kick from Cameron who added the conversion from wide out. Canterbury left winger and world champion Baby Black Brayden Ennor scored consecutive tries and the visitors were up 39-10 after 67 minutes.
Multiple errors on first-phase plays proved costly for the hosts as the final quarter got under way. West left the field with three minutes remaining with what appeared to be a serious facial injury.
Canterbury 53 (Brett Cameron, Josh McKay, Inga Finau Marshall Suckling 2, Brayden Ennor 2 tries; Cameron 2 pens, 5 cons; McKay con), Hawke's Bay 10 (Hugh Renton try; Ihaia West con, pen).