Hawke's Bay Magpies rugby coach Mark Ozich gave his team's second half the thumbs up after today's pre-season 19-15 loss to Waikato in Taupo.
"In the first half we were a bit passive and went to sleep. We lacked focus and intensity. But in the second half we bounced back well with a bit more intent and lots of positive stuff," Ozich said.
Waikato led 19-5 at halftime. Captain and winger Mason Emerson scored the Bay's only first half try while Waikato scored three quick tries midway through the half in the Owen Delany Park encounter.
Powerful loosie Marino Mikaele-Tu'u and substitute first five-eighth Tiaan Falcon scored the Magpies second half tries. Hooker Ben Power's high physicality levels impressed Ozich.
Prop Joe Apikotoa carried well on attack and shifted opponents well in the collisions. Lock Lui Luamanu shone with his workrate.
New Zealand under-20s No 8 Devan Flanders was full of authority when he took the field in the second half. Fellow substitute loosie Solomone Funaki continued the fine form he displayed for MAC until collecting a cut to his head which required stitches.
Substitute hooker Jacob Devery carried well during his 27-minute shift.
"Yes we were inaccurate with some of our set piece play and decision making. But we can work on that stuff. Josh [assistant coach Syms] and I were pleased with our second half effort ... the way we bounced back and the grind we put in," Ozich added.
In the curtainraiser the Hawke's Bay Saracens beat the King Country Heartland team 45-19 after leading 38-7 at halftime. Saracens coach Mutu Ngarimu was impressed with the manner in which his troops turned possession and territory into points.
Hastings centre Timo Vaiusu was outstanding and Havelock North winger Mikey Vuicakau was always dangerous on attack. Clive first five-eighth Tianua Poto led the Saracens with aplomb and did well to convert all six tries and kick a penalty for a 15-point haul.
MAC halfback Johnny Ika provided quality service for Poto. Central lock Tomo Fogarty and Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports flanker Damien Scott were inspirational in the Saracens pack.
The Napier Old Boys Marist pair of halfback Zac Donaldson and frontrower Terry Marsh provided quality impact off the pine.
Waikato 19, Hawke's Bay Magpies 15 (Mason Emerson, Marino Mikaele-Tu'u, Tiaan Falcon tries). HT: 19-5.
Hawke's Bay Saracens 45 (Teremoana Joel, Tomo Fogarty, Damie Scott, Mikey Vuicakau, Timo Vaiusu, Mitch Drew tries; Tianua Poto 6 cons, pen), King Country 19. HT: 38-7.