Back in the day, Wellington's Athletic Park had Bernie's Corner and Hamilton's Rugby Park had the Referees' Corner.

At Murray Salt Stadium in Te Puke, the area behind the goal line closest to the clubrooms is commonly known as Pirates' Corner, in recognition of the old United Pirates club that morphed into today's Te Puke Sports.

That area of turf was certainly the centre of attention on Saturday as the home team's final two tries were scored there to close out a memorable victory over Te Puna.

The 47-27 win gives Te Puke Sports a clear gap on the chasing pack in the Farmlands Co-operative Baywide Premier 1 competition and the inside running to host a semifinal.


Te Puna, unbeaten for 14 consecutive matches this season, have now lost two games on the bounce and need to regroup quickly.

On Saturday they came out of the blocks slowly with a good breeze at their backs and were dominated by the slick, well-organised Te Puke team.

Former Wellington Lions lock Kane Leaupepe scored the opening try for Te Puke and after the kickers traded penalties, the decisive early moment came when fullback Cole Forbes collected a loose kick and used his speed and step to sprint 55m for a great try in the corner.

Te Puke jumped out to a 22-3 lead when Leaupepe split the Te Puna defence wide open and sauntered over for his second. But like last week against Tauranga Sports, the Te Puna players dug deep and cut the deficit to 22-10 right on the stroke of halftime.

The second stanza proved to be a memorable 40 minutes as the two sides went at each other in a fine showpiece of Baywide rugby at its very best.

Te Puna's Hamish Boyce finished off a flowing move in the first play of the half and when Hunter Mokomoko scored minutes later the gap was down to five at 22-17.

Time for key players to stand-up and none more so than Te Puke co-captain Luke Campbell. The Steamers halfback controlled play well and then made a decisive dart for the line to score.

Danny Underwood leads Te Puke through fire brigade members. PHOTO/ANDREW WARNER
Danny Underwood leads Te Puke through fire brigade members. PHOTO/ANDREW WARNER

Jordy Stone got a try back for Te Puna but as the clock ticked down to fulltime Campbell scored in Pirates' Corner.


In the final play of the match as Te Puna chased a bonus point, it was Forbes, out of last year's Tauranga Boys' College first XV, who intercepted a pass to race 50m down the touchline past the fire brigade members honoured on the day for a spectacular dive into Pirates' Corner.

Te Puke player/coach Matt Wallis was most pleased how they put into action on match day what they had trained all week.

"The systems worked really well, we stuck to what we had trained and it was a hugely important win for us to beat Te Puna today," Wallis says.

Te Puna coach Aidan Kuka says other teams have lifted their intensity in the second round.

"We may be a victim of our own success but we have another level to hit. Te Puke Sports were really clinical, they have good game managers and they have a forward pack that just go to work.

"That is a recipe for a championship team."