Poverty Bay 34 – 31 NPEC
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Late penalty wins it for Poverty Bay in hard-fought battle
RUGBY by Jack Malcolm
Published September 21, 2020 1:31PM
It was a nail-biting finish in the first of two games between Poverty Bay and Ngati Porou East Coast.
The 34-31 victory for Civil Project Solutions Poverty Bay was the result of a hard-fought battle to the final whistle.
Ngati Porou had their opponents’ number for extended periods of the game but were unable to fully capitalise on their momentum.
It looked like Poverty Bay had run out of steam going into the second half. They slipped off tackles and had to defend for extended periods.
NPEC head coach Hosea Gear, who watched the game from his couch on the Gold Coast, said he was incredibly proud of his team.
“We showed a lot to lead for a little bit there . . . we just weren’t good enough to hold it, and Poverty Bay were good enough to come back and take it.
“I’m proud of the boys; they all struggle to get to training, and to come out and play like that is awesome.”
Poverty Bay started well, dominating at scrum time and scoring two early tries.
The first was a runaway try to winger Matthew Raleigh. Lock Fletcher Scammell capitalised on a wayward pass, scooping the ball up before offloading it out the back of his hand in the tackle to Raleigh, who sprinted up the sideline to score.
Te Peehi Fairlie, on the other wing, scored their second on the back of a beautiful set piece that gave them an overlap out wide. Fullback Andrew Tauatevalu drew in the last defender, giving Fairlie the space to make it to the line.
It looked as if Poverty Bay would take control of the game, but they started to falter as Ngati Porou steadied their nerves and fought back diligently.
The Bay’s decision-making and accuracy hurt them at times as NPEC hit the advantage line hard and exposed gaping holes in the defence.
Captain and No.8 Hone Haerewa had a man-of-the-match performance for his East Coast team, getting around the park well and consistently gaining metres after contact.
The building pressure proved too much as Ngati Porou scored their first points through halfback Hamuera Moana.
Haerewa made a break into the 22, and as Poverty Bay scrambled to set their defence, they overran the halfback to put pressure on the first receiver. Seeing the overcommitment, Moana took the ball to the line himself, breaking through uncontested to score.
Poverty Bay were still in the game, scoring next through their captain, flanker Adrian Wyrill, who caught the defence sleeping as he quickly tapped the ball from a penalty close to the line and burrowed his way over to score.
Ngati Porou steadied their ship and scored next through a set-piece move that caught the defence off guard. Second five-eighth Tutere Waenga and centre Pamona Samupo combined to catch the defence sleeping and Samupo waltzed through to score.
A series of three penalties for Ngati Porou meant the halftime score was 19-all, with some impressive kicking from the tee by George Shields.
As the second half started, Poverty Bay looked to be under the pump as NPEC continued to push the pace. The Sky Blues impressed with their strong ball running and smart defence.
Haerewa was rewarded for his form with a try to put his team in front early in the second half. A steady build-up of phases proved too much for the Bay defence. Haerewa shrugged off the first defender from a pick-and-go as he pushed his way over the line.
NPEC continued to apply pressure, and they continually broke the advantage line with their strong running, which put Poverty Bay on the back foot. Reserve right wing Te Aho Morice reaped the reward for this pressure when he stepped off his outside foot and slipped through his opponents’ tackle attempts to score.
It looked as if NPEC would run away with the game, but it wasn’t to be. Poverty Bay tightened up on their errors and fought back.
Tauatevalu and Fairlie passed the ball between themselves as they worked it up the wing. The slick handling put Tauatevalu into open space, and he sprinted to the corner to score.
The game went back and forth as both teams fought to take control. Raleigh got his second try with 15 minutes to go after pressure on an East Coast clearance gave Poverty Bay an attacking lineout on the 22. A brilliant set-piece move by Tauatevalu to get on the outside of his defender forced the last man to come in, giving Raleigh the space to run down the sideline and score, to tie the game.
It was a grandstand finish, both teams fighting tooth and nail to come out on top. Ultimately it was Poverty Bay who kicked one final penalty kick with five minutes on the clock to take the victory.
Poverty Bay head coach Tom Cairns said the game was “closer than coaches like”.
“When it goes down to the wire, it’s going to get scrappy . . . we had a lot of work to do at the end there.
“I’m proud of the boys, they got us over the line . . . they didn’t drop their heads and give up.”
Despite the win, Cairns said his team had a lot of work to do at training this week — particularly on defence — in the lead-up to the second game of the double-header against NPEC.
|Perrin J. Manuel
|Hoani J. Te Moana
|Hone Haerewa (c)
|Verdon R.M. Bartlett
|Tawhao M.T.I.W Stewart
|Jorian Tangaere ↔️ Raniera Whakataka
|Laman Davies ↔️ Hirini Delamere
|Richard.J.S.’Riki’ Waitoa ↔️ Hoani J. Te Moana
|Moana H. Mato ↔️ Netani Seruwaqa
|Te Aho Morice ↔️ Hamuera Baker
|Tanetoa Parata ↔️ Trent Proffit
|George Shields ↔️ Benny Haerewa