A late try to fullback Ryan Tongia secured the Hawke's Bay Saracens rugby side a 33-29 victory over the Poverty Bay Heartland team in Gisborne today.
Poverty Bay led 29-21 at halftime. Three intercept tries helped the hosts' cause in the first half.
"Those intercept tries were off the same move of ours each time. It was an ugly win for us but we will take it," Saracens head coach and former Poverty Bay mentor Mutu Ngarimu said.
He was impressed with how substitute lock Donovan Mataira, substitute props Paula Latu and Teremoana Joel and loosies Ricky Hayes and Phil McRoberts operated in his pack.
Winger Tyrone Dodd-Edwards, who scored two tries, was the best of the Saracens backs.
Midfielder Ted Walters and substitute hooker Frank Tupuola scored the Saracens other tries. First five-eighth Kodie Drury-Hawkins kicked three conversions and his replacement Johnny Lauano one.
The Hawke's Bay under-19 team opened their national competition campaign with a 36-3 win against the Hurricanes Heartland under-20s in Poverty Bay today. Tighthead prop Patrick Teddy and second five-eighth Blake Patterson, who both scored two tries each, were outstanding for the Bay.
Openside flanker Josh Gimblett and No 8 Tiaki Fabish had massive work rates in the winning pack. Substitute prop Lolani Faleiva scored the Bay's other try and fullback Leighton Shaw kicked four conversions and a penalty.
The Hawke's Bay Tui women's team completed their pre-season campaign with a 37-22 loss to Bay of Plenty in Taupo today.
"It was really close until the final third when Bay of Plenty scored three tries. But overall I was pretty happy with the effort and also with how we're tracking," Big Barrel Hawke's Bay Tui head coach Steve Woods said.
The match was played over three 30-minute periods which allowed both teams to try different combinations. Woods said Bay of Plenty are a strong Premiership side which almost beat Counties Manukau last week.
Busy No 8 Gemma Woods scored a try and set up another two for the Tui. Powerful blindside flanker Kathleen Brown scored two tries and Cortez Te Pou, who again impressed at fullback and on the wing, scored the other try. Former Black Ferns halfback Emma Jensen kicked a conversion for the Tui.
Openside flanker Niamh Jefferson had her best outing of the pre-season programme and formed a formidable loose forward trio with Brown and Woods. Coach Woods said the Tui scrum still needs some work before his troops open their Farah Palmer Cup Championship campaign with a match against Northland in Napier on September 7.
Promising No 8 Liana Mikaele-Tu'u played the second period in her first outing at this level and performed well.