Turbos take learnings from preseason clash
The Manawatu Turbos picked up plenty of lessons in their Game of Three Halves preseason encounter with Wanganui and Bay of Plenty in Taihape on Friday.
They fell 14-12 to Wanganui in a 40-minute hit-out and 21-7 to Bay of Plenty in the second 40.
Bay of Plenty won their 40-minute match against Wanganui 26-12.
It was a battle of the forwards in Manawatu’s match against Wanganui.
With no Hankins Shield finalists and a host of players unavailable with injuries and Super Rugby commitments, a number of young players got the chance to step up.
Backs like Adam Boult, who injured his shoulder, and Ueta Tufuga took their chances.
James Tofa showed the confidence to attack space in the first half, but Wanganui scrambled well on defence.
But up front Wanganui got stuck and tested the young pack.
The Heartland side starved Manawatu of the ball for lengthy periods, but when Manawatu did have the ball they looked dangerous on attack.
Wanganui scored the first try of the match, but the Turbos answered back when first five-eighth Cody Hemi scampered through a gap close to the tryline.
No 8 Jordan Stewart then barged his way over to put the side in the lead.
But Wanganui scored late to claim the narrow win.
Manawatu and Bay of Plenty was a similarly even encounter.
The early running was all going Manawatu’s way.
The Turbos’ forwards muscled up well with Brad Tucker, Liam Hallam-Eames and Liam Mitchell leading the charge.
But they saw little reward as Bay of Plenty constantly shut down the attacks with solid defence led by former All Black Tanerau Latimer.
The Steamers got themselves on the scoresheet with an intercept as Manawatu tried to attack from deep in their own half.
But Manawatu bounced back with Jono Ihaka scoring down the left wing.
Ihaka was one of the standouts for Manawatu, breaking the first tackle every time he got the ball.
As the weather took a turn for the worst, Bay of Plenty started to wrestle the upper hand, helped by a dominant scrum.
They bagged two tries to close out the game.
The Turbos' next preseasonmatch is against Tasman in Porirua. It kicks off at 11.30am on Friday.
v Wanganui (Cody Hemi, Jordan Stewart tries; James Tofa con)
v Bay of Plenty (Jono Ihaka try; Jade Te Rure con)