The pressure in the Hawke's Bay Magpies rugby team's quest to avoid relegation from the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership has intensified.
The bottom-of-the-table Magpies gifted their closest rivals on the points table, the Tasman Makos, a bonus point 36-29 win at Napier's McLean Park tonight. It wasn't the performance members of the 1960s Ranfurly Shield era Magpies who were among the crowd celebrating the 50th anniversary of their shield win against Waikato deserved.
The Makos dominated the first 15 minutes with some superh handling and powerful busts from the likes of flankers Tevita Koloamatangi and captain Shane Christie and second five-eighth David Havili. It was a Havili break which led to winger Tima Faingaanuku's try.
First five-eighth Marty Banks, who had earlier kicked a penalty, added the conversion and the Makos had an early 10-0 lead. The Magpies kept in touch with a try to flanker Trent Boswell-Wakefield in the 15th minute after excellent build up work from first five-eighth Ihaia West and winger Jonah Lowe.
More weak defence from the hosts allowed Makos No 8 Peter Samu to score in the 20th minute. Banks added the extras.
West kept the Magpies in the hunt with a 24th minute penalty when Auckland referee Angus Mabey ruled the Makos to be offside. The key blow came when Makos centre Kieron Fonotia scored in the 31st minute after dashing through some flimsy defence to provide another handy conversion for Banks and the visitors led 24-8.
There was better defensive work from the Magpies at the start of the second half. However the Makos were first to score when Banks capitalised on a another loose pass from West with a converted try in the 55th minute.
The woes continued when captain and hooker Ash Dixon was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle in the 60th minute.
As has been the case throughout this season when the chips have been down the Magpies never threw the towel in and were rewarded for their efforts when flanker Tony Lamborn scored in the 65th minute and West added the conversion.
Five minutes later substitute prop Jason Long scored and West was again on target with the extras.
Hawke's Bay age group product Caleb Makene, who payed on the left wing for the Makos scored in the 75th minute. His opposite Lowe gave the hosts two bonus points with his 77th minute converted try.
Tasman 36 (Tima Faingaanuku, Peter Samu, Kieron Fonotia, Marty Banks, Caleb Makene tries; Marty Banks pen, 4 cons), Hawke's Bay 29 (Trent Boswell-Wakefield, Tony Lamborn, Jonah Lowe, Jason Long tries; Ihaia West pen; West 2, Lowe cons). HT: 24-8.