Bay of Plenty 12
Hawke's Bay 7

Bay of Plenty have earned promotion to the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership in 2020 after holding on to beat Hawke's Bay 12-7 in the Championship final tonight.

It was a game that had none of the flair or excitement of the two sides' 51-24 clash earlier this season, but it did have a tense conclusion, as Hawke's Bay bashed away at the Bay of Plenty line.

After 29 phases of drastic defence on their own line, Bay of Plenty finally won the penalty that seemingly sealed the game, only needing to secure the resulting lineout to claim their title.


However, as the throw into the lineout wasn't straight, it gave Hawke's Bay a penalty, and a scrum feed, needing to go 35 metres to keep their hopes of promotion alive.

Finally, though, as Hawke's Bay spread the ball to the left, Chase Tiatia grabbed an intercept, and ran into touch to seal Bay of Plenty's return to the top flight.

It's a deserved promotion, having been the best Championship side all season, though they didn't have their usual attacking threat tonight.

However, four penalties from Dan Hollinshead slowly built a solid lead, and while a 60-metre Jonah Lowe intercept against the run of play gave Hawke's Bay a sniff, Bay of Plenty got it done - not without a nervous moment - to ensure they'll replace Counties Manukau in the Premiership for 2020.

Here's how the full match unfolded: