Rugby: Hawke's Bay surge in second half to topple Manawatu

Ihaia West helped lead his side to just their second win of the 2016 Mitre 10 Cup season. Photo / Getty
Ihaia West helped lead his side to just their second win of the 2016 Mitre 10 Cup season. Photo / Getty

In a game that featured more sliding than running, Hawke's Bay notched up just their second win of the 2016 Mitre 10 Cup season, defeating Manawatu 30-21 in Palmerston North.

While the result does little to salvage Hawke's Bay underwhelming season, it's kept Manawatu in a dangerous fourth place position just two points ahead of Bay of Plenty.

Slippery conditions put a damper on expansive play in the first half, with the two forward packs doing most of the battling up front.

When it did come time to be creative, it was Manawatu who outclassed their rivals with Otere Black and Nathan Tudreu constantly linking for some exciting midfield play.

Turbos hooker Travis Taylor bagged two tries, both off the back of steamrolling mauls which had the Hawke's Bay defence constantly on the back foot.

However, if the Magpies first half was described as dull and passive, their second half was explosive and inventive.

Their backline suddenly came to life, putting the Turbos under pressure in the final third and winning a number of key penalties.

Ihaia West kept knocking them over to draw the scoreboard back before the Magpies scored their first try through Mark Abbott.

His forwards helped him on a storming run which resulted in key try just metres from the sticks.

Moments later, a smart read by Robbie Fruean on defence led to an intercept try that helped push the scoreboard out to 27-16.

Manawatu managed to pull one back but West delivered the killing blow with a late penalty.

The Turbos will be hurting, not only because they dominated the first half with no missed tackles and very few penalties, but because they missed a chance to sit third on the Mitre 10 Cup Championship table ahead of their last two games.

Hawke's Bay 30 (M. Abbott, R. Fruean tries; I. West 1 con, 6 pens)
Manawatu 21 (T. Taylor 2, T. Cadwallader tries; O. Black 2 pens)
HT: 3-11

- NZ Herald

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