Bay of Plenty 22
Counties Manukau 17
Taking on three Premiership teams in as many weeks to begin their Mitre 10 Cup campaign, Championship battlers Bay of Plenty looked to have the toughest start of any team.
Two weeks in, they're two of two – claiming the scalps of Taranaki and Counties Manukau.
After decimating premiership heavyweights Taranaki by 20 points to open their season, the Steamers gave Counties Manukau a similar dose of hurt in Pukekohe on Thursday, heading into their next match against Canterbury on the back of a 22-17 win.
Much like in their opening match, Bay of Plenty looked likely from the outset. Dominating possession and territory, it seemed only a matter of time before they found themselves with a handy lead.
Granted that probably came later than the side would have like, but it came nonetheless.
Through the opening 20 minutes, Counties Manukau's defensive line held strong. They were cracked early by Bay of Plenty halfback Richard Judd, but his try was ruled out due to an obstruction.
The first try came minutes later for the visitors, when fullback Chase Tiatia channelled his inner loose forward with a pick and go from close range to score in the 23rd minute.
With time ticking away, it looked like the gap would remain seven points at the break. But five minutes from halftime, Counties Manukau got on the board through hooker Joe Royal.
A late penalty to Mike Delany saw the visitors take a 10-5 lead at the break, with the match still very much in the balance.
Despite dominating the play, Bay of Plenty had to settle for a penalty and a converted try in the first 40, so fans might have been a touch worried when Sione Molia went over out wide for the hosts early in the second half to give them their first lead of the night.
It was short-lived however, as Judd scored after a show and go from close range before Tiatia added a second to push the visitors ahead 22-12.
A try to Counties captain Sam Henwood closed the gap to five, and the hosts had the chance to at least draw on the hooter when they were awarded a penalty 15m out.
However, their lineout drive was knocked on and Bay of Plenty kicked to the sideline from the ensuing scrum, sealing their second win of the year and leaving Counties Manukau without one.
Bay of Plenty 22 (Chase Tiatia 2, Richard Judd tries; Mike Delany 2 cons, pen)
Counties Manukau 17 (Joe Royal, Sione Molia, Sam Henwood tries; Latiume Fosita con)