The Bay of Plenty Volcanix have produced their most competitive game of the season, but ultimately fell short against the Manawatu Cyclones.
During the first half, in Palmerston North, it was anybody's game with both sides creating opportunities.
Manawatu opened the scoring early on with an unconverted try to Selica Winiata, before Bay of Plenty reduced the deficit to 5-3 via a Sapphire Tapsell penalty. The score remained 5-3 at halftime.
The Volcanix came out firing in the second half and prop Baye Jacob, who came off the bench, drove over for a try in her blazer game. The try was converted and the Volcanix led 10-5.
Manawatu scored a converted try shortly afterwards to lead 12-10. The rest of the half was hotly contested, but unfortunately for the Volcanix, Manawatu ran away with the win thanks to two late tries.
Volcanix coach Brendon Webby said it was an improved performance, compared to the 44-7 loss to Waikato the week before, but his side was not making enough of their scoring opportunities.
"We played really well in patches and created lots of opportunities, which is really pleasing, but we just struggled to finish them off," Webby says.
"It was a massive improvement, we're definitely moving in the right direction and I'm really happy with the girls. Their intent, again, was really good and we were right in it until the last 10 minutes, then they just scored a couple of lucky tries and we didn't make the most of the opportunities we created.
"We're definitely improving and the girls are still really positive, working hard and keen to work even harder, so it's good."
He said Manawatu were a similar side to the Volcanix.
"As far as team profile goes they're real similar to us and trying to play a similar game, they went really good. I think they move into fourth on the ladder now and they'll be looking to make the semifinals for sure."
Webby said execution would be the major work-on in training this week.
"As well as making sure we're still working hard to create the opportunities and don't go into our shells. We want to make sure we're still playing with lots of passion and enthusiasm."
He was pleased to see Jacob get across the try line in her blazer game, saying she brought a lot to the team.
"She does a massive amount for the team. She had a huge impact off the bench this week. She brings passion, lots of go-forward and she's a really good scrummager. Our scrum was actually dominant again against Manawatu, that's a real strength for us at the moment."