They took a little while to get going this season but the Bay of Plenty Volcanix seem to have figured out the formula to winning.
They got their first win over Waikato last weekend and
now the Bay of Plenty women are teetering on the edge of the Premiership to-four after a 30-17 over Manawatu at the Tauranga Domain yesterday.READ MORE:
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The match was part of a double header with the Steamers, who took on Manawatu in the Mitre 10 Cup later in the afternoon.
The Volcanix have been guilty of some slow starts this year but in this encounter they were the first to score, hooker Luka Connor bulldozing her way over from close range.
Manawatu are blessed with some electric backs - Crystal Mayes and Selica Winiata have set fields alight on the international stag - and it was Mayes who hit back with a try 20 minutes into the game to make it 5-all.
Manawatu scored twice more, through second five Lauren Balsillie and winger Kahurangi Sturmey to lead 17-5.
The Volcanix piled on the pressure in the final five minutes of the first half and after several phases inside the Manawatu 22m, No 8 Natalie Delamere scooped the ball up from the back of the ruck before diving over the line to score. Manawatu led 17-10 at halftime.
The Volcanix found another gear in the second half, racking up 20 points and holding Manawatu scoreless for a comfortable 30-17 bonus-point win.
Connor scored her second try almost immediately after halftime, in similar fashion to the first with a powerful surge from close range.
Twenty minutes into the second half, the Volcanix were dominating and captain Kendra Reynolds was held up over the line. Not one to shy away from a challenge, just minutes later she got over the line again and this time was able to plant the ball down and give her side a 20-17 lead.
With 10 minutes left on the clock, fullback Sapphire Tapsell scored with an overlap in the right-hand corner before Nadia Flavell put the cherry on top with the try of the match - a 50m effort in which she broke two tackles before showing great speed to race away and score.
Volcanix assistant coach Matt Wallis said the result was pleasing but the overall performance was not the best.
"I thought we were a little bit flat today in patches, we made it hard for ourselves with errors, our ball placement at the ruck - we got a lot of pressure put on us there.
"I think it's just a focus thing because it is something we've worked on at training - the ball placement, getting it back so they can't have a go at it. It shows you're a good side though, if you can win without a complete performance.
"In saying that, individual players played really well and at times we really played well as a team. I thought our scrum was good, parts of our attack was good, little things like that. If we can get over the advantage line our backs can carve teams up."
Second five Layna Te Riini, who made her Volcanix debut, said it was nerve-racking but good.
"It was my first game and I was excited, it was mean to be a part of the team and they helped me get through the game. I think we lifted each other, backed each other and had good comms - that helped me anyway."
This weekend the Volcanix travel to Canterbury for their final round-robin game, knowing a win could see them leapfrog Counties or Wellington into semifinal contention.