Hawke's Bay earned their first victory of the Mitre 10 Cup season last night, proving too strong for fellow strugglers Southland in Invercargill.
The Magpies and Stags came into the clash bottom of the Premiership and Championship respectively but, having at last met their match, proceeded to put on a relatively entertaining display at Rugby Park.
The home side spent much of the match in arrears, after Brad Weber showed his speed to grab the game's opener. Only the boot of Wharenui Hawera kept them in the contest as Southland particularly suffered in a 10-minute stretch after halftime, when both sides had a man sent to the sin bin but only one showed proficiency at playing a man down.
Ash Dixon and Matt Garland crossed within moments of each other as Hawke's Bay seized control but, when Peni Ravai finally crossed for the home side's first try, the scores were locked at 22-22.
The Stags must have sensed an upset but they were powerless to stop the fast-finishing visitors from enjoying a three-try blitz to race away with a bonus-point victory, as Ihaia West set up the first with a cross kick before scoring Hawke's Bay's sixth himself.
Tauasosi Tuimavave hit back late but it was little more than consolation as Southland joined fellow battlers Northland by being winless from five games.
Southland 29 (P. Ravai, T. Tuimavave tries; W. Hawera 5 pens, con, Tuimavave con)
Hawke's Bay 43 (B. Weber, A. Dixon, M. Garland, M. Emerson, T. Lamborn, I. West tries; I West 4 cons, pen, T. Falcon con)