Hawke's Bay suprise Wellington to move up the ladder
October 11, 2013
Hawke's Bay sit in second position after their win over Wellington, but must wait for
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Hawke's Bay displayed great mental strength to hold off Wellington in Napier on Thursday night. Having led for the opening quarter, the Magpies fell behind late in the second half, before a quick turnaround saw the side score two unanswered tries to put the result beyond doubt.
Replacement Adam Bradey edged his side ahead when he slammed the ball down the in corner, but it was a sublime piece of individual brilliance by Ihaia West that had the boisterous home crowd on their feet. His brilliant foot work sliced the Lions defence open before pure speed saw off the challenge of three covering defenders.
Wellington, who are sitting seven points atop the premiership, will now need to regroup before hosting Counties Manukau. The Lions were dominated at the breakdown by a Magpies loose forward trio led by unwanted Hurricane Karl Lowe. In general play, a general lack of commitment from several players became a problem, which the Magpies pounced on.
With several refereeing decisions going the way of Hawke's Bay, Wellington was soon on the back foot with Zac Guildford sliding over for a try and only moments later saw Telusa Veainu dotted down under the posts. Wellington suffered another blow as second-five Charlie Ngatai trudged off the field with a noticeable limp.
Looking to swing the momentum, captain Victor Vito turned down a kickable penalty, opting instead for a scrum. The superior Lions pack easily forced their way to the line where the All Blacks No 8 cashed in for a crucial try. His effort was replicated shortly after when lock Mark Reddish muscled his way over to reduce the deficit to six points as half-time approached. However, a third converted penalty to Hawke's Bay saw the side enter the break with a nine-point buffer.
After the break Wellington soon hit the front by one point, however, there good work soon came undone with loose handling giving Hawke's Bay the advantage which saw the side crash over for two tries to seal the match.
The win saw the men from McLean Park climb to second on the championship ladder, while other results in the coming days will determine whether they will host next week's semi-final.