MAC coach Anthony Morley heaped kudos on referee Amon Rimene for learning some Samoan lingo after his team's upset in Hawke's Bay's premier club rugby competition on Saturday.
Three weeks after being walloped 55-5 by Altherm Window Systems Napier Technical in the Nash Cup quarterfinals MAC pipped the same team 32-29 at Whitmore Park in Saturday's first round of the Tui Maddison Trophy competition.
"It was the second time Amon had refereed us this season and after the first time he's gone the extra mile to learn some Samoan words because a lot of our boys don't understand English. But they know what red and yellow cards mean," Morley said.
First five-eighth Tom Iosefo scored a match-winning try in the last play of the game when he beat a couple of defenders on a solo blindside run to the tryline. Samoa Sevens representatives Iosefo and Fa'alemiga Selesele, who played openside flanker, and Tonga A utility back Johnny Ika, who played fullback, were key architects of the visitors' victory.
"We had no passengers up front and were able to match Tech's scrum. They killed us at scrum time last time but this time we were able to hang in there long enough to clear the ball," Morley explained.
The fact MAC played with 13 players for almost eight minutes added to the significance of their win as frontrower Amiga Mikaele and blindside flanker Faletolu Leaega spent time in the sinbin. The Texans played the final 15 minutes with 14 players after their player-of-the-match, hooker Perrin Manuel, was sent off for stomping.
"It was one of those error-ridden displays from us. Hopefully it's a oncer," Tech manager Cyril Whitburn said.
Flanker Jordan Faia and fullback Niue Vaimoli were other valuable contributors to the hosts cause.
NOBM 66 Tamatea 30
Former All Black hooker Hika Elliot played 65 minutes at No 8 for Jarks Tamatea as they produced their best display of the season in this Park Island loss.
"I was proud of our competitive effort. Six players from our twos had to fill the bench so our starters had to slug it out. We've still got troops to come back so there will be competition for berths and that's something we haven't had for a while," Tamatea coach Matt Marsh said.
"When I walked into the NOBM clubrooms Ian MacRae, Blair Furlong and Hilton Meech, all of whom I played with and against in the 1960s, came up to me full of congratulations for how our boys played," Tamatea's Pou Tikanga Don Hutana said.
Tighthead prop Mason Kean, openside flanker Jimi Harris and first five-eighth Lincoln McClutchie were all prominent for Tamatea who have scored the most points against NOBM this season.
Winger Michael Buckley, who scored a hat-trick, substitute No 8 Hannon Brighouse and substitute prop Lee Moleili all made WIT Napier Old Boys Marist head coach Craig Gowler's MVP list after their 43rd consecutive win.
"Tamatea played with an amazing attitude. They were tenacious and positive in an outstanding performance," Gowler said.
Taradale 19 Clive 17
Fullback Dillon Loibl kicked a late penalty to secure this home win for Taradale Rugby and Sports but captain and No 8 Andrew Gardner was man of the match.
"Red [Gardner's nickname] never stops. He's been like that for all three years I've been here and he's been a massive part of the successes we've had," Taradale head coach Jason Shoemark said.
"Our composure at the business end of the game and the impact from our subs was also pleasing," Shoemark added.
Second five-eighth Nathan Ramsay and centre Kaleb Whakataka were full of enterprise in the winning backline.
K9 Petfoods Clive paid the price for poor discipline in their red zone during the final five minutes and failing to capitalise on a couple of early scoring opportunities. Halfback Bronson Hokianga shone with his options, clearances and cover defence for Clive.
Flankers Josh Eden-Whaitiri and Jesse Tuhua had massive workrates in the visiting pack.
Havelock North 45 Pirate 22
Fullback Adam Blake celebrated his return from injury with 15 points for Progressive Meats Havelock North in this Tamatea Park victory.
Blake converted all six of the visitors' tries and kicked a penalty. Prop Paea Taulanga had his best game of the season in the villagers' engine room wehre lock Sam Ulufonua was again full of authority.
"We let them in in the second half after leading 31-8 at halftime. But we're very happy with how we went after two weeks without a game," Havelock manager Gary Revell said.
Tanalised Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports manager Charles Reid said his lads did well to draw the second half after a shocking first half which was marred by a lot of missed tackles. Substitute centre Hayden Hann and French halfback Luix Rossarie impressed with their impact. Props Pouri Rakete-Stones and Sean Morrison and Japanese halfback Mitsahide Matsuyama were the pick of the Pirate starters.
Hastings 45 Central 17
Auto Super Shoppe Hastings Rugby and Sports hooker Jacob Devery scored a try in his return from injury at Waipukurau's Central Park.
Devery's scrum functioned and provided plenty of opportunities for halfback Folau Fakatava to strut his stuff again. Busy No 8 Ben Hamelink and flanker Fale Matamata were others to shine in the winning pack.
First five-eighth Danny Toala and second five-eighth Ausage Fomai combined well in the Hastings backline.
Northfuels Central manager Ian Large was rapt with the intensity and commitments his troops displayed after three weeks without a game. Second five-eighth Pasqualle Dunn, lock Tom Parsons and promising loosehead prop Cam Pratt all made Large's MVP list.