A decisive tactical positional switch was influential in the Hawke's Bay Ross Shield rugby team's 59-7 victory against the Southern North Island Primary Schools team in Levin on Saturday.
Hawke's Bay led 17-7 at halftime. The visitors' first half started slowly and they were guilty of trying to take one step more before offloading and this resulted in the ball being lost in the tackle on numerous occasions.
Winger Iraia Roberts scored the Bay's first try after a powerful run. Starting first five-eighth Noah Rogers converted.
Starting fullback Iziah Matamata, who finished the match with a hattrick, scored the first of his tries and second five-eighth Chance Katene scored the Bay's other first half try. The hosts replied with a late converted try.
At halftime the Hawke's Bay coaching staff of Russell Hewitt, Billy Te Hiko and Matt Wyatt decided to switch centre Kaden Makea to first five-eighth and Rogers to fullback.
Makea, who won the Taupo Trophy for player of the tournament at the Ross Shield tournament in Wairoa this month, was able to use his size and pace to slice through the defensive line and offload at will allowing Hawke's Bay to score six unanswered tries in the second half. Player-of-the-match Makea scored two of them and Rogers, who was moved to fullback, converted all six.
Matamata, who played centre in the second half, also scored two and Katene and substitute forward Creed Johnson Whakaue one each.