Turbos mauled in wet weather contest
Wet weather rugby proved Manawatu’s enemy as they fell 31-13 to Hawke’s Bay in the opening round of the Mitre 10 Cup at Central Energy Trust Arena on Sunday.
Four tries from rolling mauls and another from close range ultimately snuck the Turbos chances of the win as rain swept through Palmerston North. But those close-range tries failed to do justice to Manawatu’s defence which forced the Magpies into 10-man rugby. There were plenty of positives for the coaching staff to focus on, but set piece remains a key work on with six days until game two.
The match could not have started much better for the Turbos as Otere Black launched a cross-field kick for Te Rangatira Waitokia, who found Rob Thompson and then Hamish Northcott for the try.
And it looked like that would be enough to keep them in the match, especially when Sam Malcolm launched a 51m penalty to put Manawatu up to 10. But a pair of maul tries to Ash Dixon and Brendon O’Connor kept the door open for the Magpies and having spied the weakness, they repeatedly punished Manawatu.
The scores were locked at 10-10 at the break. But in the second half, Manawatu were left having to settle for just three points through the boot of Black.
Meanwhile, for Hawke’s Bay it was a case of win penalties, kick for the corner and repeat – a game plan that ultimately worked wonders.
The Turbos’ best were Black, crafty veteran Nick Crosswell and the physical Fraser Stone.
Hawke's Bay 31 (Ash Dixon 2, Brendon O'Connor, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Folou Fakatava tries; Danny Toala 3 con) Manawatū 13 (Hamish Northcott try; Otere Black con pen, Sam Malcolm pen). HT: 10-10