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Close encounters in NPC 3
New Zealand
October 18, 1999

East Coast will host the final, their first, in what has already been the best season in their 78-year history. They had to wait until an injury time penalty gave them the decisive lead in their semi-final victory over Horowhenua-Kapiti. The size of the East Coast pack has frequently got them out of trouble but they will probably need to show a little more midfield guile against Poverty Bay.

The Bay will not be overawed up front, in lock Wayne Ensor, their skipper, flanker Johnny Martin and no 8 Mana Pohatu they have skilful ruckers and maulers.They will also have crucial experience on their side and will hope that the Coasters' unaccustomed presence in such a showcase match will prove unnerving.

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