In the past decade or so Counties-Manukau have had great service from flying Fijian wings, with Luke Erenavula and then Joeli Vidiri scoring stacks of tries for the Steelers.

If Saturday's 30-20 win in the second-division match against Nelson Bays at Pukekohe is an indication, Counties might have another flyer in teenage right wing Sitiveni Sivivatu, who scored two of the side's five tries.

Sivivatu, who was at Wesley College last year, also scored against Manawatu in the opening round.

"He's growing with every game," said coach Bruce Robertson. "He's exciting."

Also excelling was another Counties youngster, centre Casey Laulala, who confirmed the promise he showed last year by slicing through for a try in the second spell and later created Sivivatu's second with another break.

The flair and pace of these players were decisive factors as Counties stepped up from a scratchy opening match against Manawatu to outscore Nelson Bays, one of the second division's best performers of recent years, five tries to two.

But Counties struggled at times and for Robertson, with little close knowledge of second-division rugby, it was another reminder that this is a highly competitive championship and improvements are still needed.

One of Counties' main concerns must be goalkicking - Stephen Donald and Quinton Sanft landed just two of eight attempts.

Nelson Bays, with only one failed kick, thus never lost touch with Counties and had plenty of the match, gaining a fine early try to flanker Mark Bright.

Counties No 8 Dion Kingi made his side's first try with a surge that put hard-working lock Ramon Lindsay over, and another stalwart toiler, Arthur McLean, burrowed over just on halftime to make the score 17-10.

Counties are second on the table, one point behind the other unbeaten side, Hawkes Bay.

Hawkes Bay thumped Thames Valley 59-10 in Napier, hooker Mo Schwalger bagging three of their nine tries; Manawatu got past East Coast 35-27 in Palmerston North and picked up a bonus point along the way; and Mid-Canterbury downed Marlborough 28-19 in Ashburton.

In the third division, King Country's 40-32 win over Wanganui included a 25-point scoring spree at a point a minute in the second half, with the game producing nine tries.

North Otago's 39-9 win over South Canterbury was marred by last season's third-division player of the year, prop Hotili Asi, being sent off for stomping.

Wairarapa-Bush beat Poverty Bay 26-10 at Gisborne in a game which featured 28 penalties, and West Coast pipped Buller 25-20.

NPC schedule/scoreboard