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Southland retains ITM Cup lead

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Sportal.co.nz     22 Aug 2010     Getty Images

Hawke's Bay scored three of the five tries, but the telling factor was the accurate kicking by Southland first five-eighths Robbie Robinson, who was on target with all five shots while counterpart Daniel Kirkpatrick slotted two from five.

The win was a fine way for Southland stalwart hooker Jason Rutledge to celebrate his 100th match for the province, a fact captain Jamie Mackintosh alluded to afterwards.

Bay captain Jason Shoemark said he felt his team played most of the footy but turnovers proved costly again and it would be back to drawing board for the Magpies.

Hawke's Bay scored the first try in the third minute after second five-eighth Andrew Horrell walked through a gaping hole and a cut-out pass put wing Sinoti Sinoti over in the right corner. Kirkpatrick missed the sideline conversion.

Kirkpatrick missed a 38m penalty kick after 10 minutes at the same time as torrential rain fell for a short period. The effect, though, was evident as both teams struggled to keep grips on the slippery ball.

Southland opened its account with a try also. From a lineout, Tim Boys won good ball off the back and crisp passing along the backline and a nice angled run by Matt Saunders presented left wing Pehi Te Whare with a chance which he took, Robbie Robinson converting to put the Stags ahead, 7-5.

But from the restart, Hawke's Bay forced a turnover in midfield and after hooker Hikawera Elliot powered down the right flank the ball was transferred across field for lock Bryn Evans to crash over in the corner. Kirkpatrick’s sideline conversion gave the Magpies a 12-7 lead after 19 minutes.

Kirkpatrick had the chance to extend the lead with a penalty from 30m in front after 23 minutes but dragged it wide. Flanker Karl Lowe and Elliot were prominent as Bay kept Southland pinned in its half and prop Clint Newland was lucky to be only warned for a no-arms tackle.

Southland flanker Boys was not so lucky and received a yellow card only a minute later for a high tackle which was no worse than Newland’s transgression.

Close to half-time Southland bagged its second try after Robinson made a telling run from inside his 22m. Wing Tony Koonwaiyou carried on the move and his kick ahead was claimed by Saunders. Robinson kicked the sideline conversion to give the visitors the half-time lead at 14-12.

Robinson stretched the lead to five points with a 44m penalty kick in the 45th minute, but the Bay made most of the play for the next 10 minutes without any reward against a well-marshalled Southland defence.

When Southland had the chance to score points courtesy of a penalty, Robinson maintained his 100 per cent record with a 42m kick to take the lead to eight points starting the final quarter.

Kirkpatrick closed the gap to five with a well-struck 38m penalty kick in the 67th minute, but the home team was getting little joy from referee Matt Stanish and Robinson kicked his third penalty from in front with 10 minutes remaining.

Hawke's Bay desperately chased a bonus point in the dying minutes and strung together some stirring attacks with Te Whare sinbinned after 76 minutes for a professional foul.

Hawke's Bay wing Zac Guildford went across in the corner a minute from time after Bay took a scrum instead of a penalty, but Kirkpatrick’s sideline conversion bounced wide off an upright to leave his team three points in deficit at full time.

Scorers:

Hawke's Bay 20 (Sinoti Sinoti, Bryn Evans, Zac Guildford tries; Daniel Kirkpatrick con, pen) Southland 23 (Pehi Te Whare, Matt Saunders tries; Robbie Robinson 2 con, 3 pen). HT: 14-12