Hawke's Bay edge out Manawatu
September 3, 2011
Ben Tameifuna holds aloft the ITM Cup after his side's thrilling win in Palmerston North
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Hawke's Bay overcame Manawatu 35-30 in a thrilling ITM Cup Championship final in Palmerston North on Sunday to secure a place in next season's Premiership.
Aaron Cruden, who played impressively throughout, opened the scoring for Manawatu just over 60 seconds into the game with an easy penalty but it was Hawke's Bay who claimed the game's first try, centre Tua Saseve diving over after a smart break off the back of a ruck.
In an open game of running rugby, Doug Tietjens posted a swift reply for Manawatu replied only to see Hawke's Bay respond in devastating fashion with a brace of tries, through fullback Richard Buckman and winger Tino Nemani. However, Francis Bryant's touchdown just before half-time meant that Manawatu only trailed by five points, 22-17, at the interval.
However, Hawke's Bay reasserted their dominance through Sinoti Sinoti and the boot of Andrew Horrell kept Manawatu at arm's length. Manawatu did manage a late try through Mike Fitzgerald but they had left themselves with too much to do and not enough time in which to do it.
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