The Magpies magic season rolls on

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The win lifted Hawke's Bay to 31 points, eight points clear of Wellington with Waikato two points back and Tasman one point behind on 20 points.

 

In the Championship, Taranaki continued their run as the only unbeaten team with seven wins, their latest over Manawatu 47-35, with Manawatu in second place 12 points behind.

 

Hawke's Bay's remaining competition game is away to Manawatu next weekend while Taranaki will host Southland in a fortnight, the week before the semifinals.

 

Scores from the weekend were:

 

Otago 22 Canterbury 20

 

Having ended their Canterbury bogey of 14 consecutive losses last season, Otago set about repeating the dose on home soil on Friday, although the man of the match, first five-eighths Josh Ioane's kicking boot took time to sort out its angles. In the meantime, Canterbury scored first when replacement No8 Sam Dickson scored his maiden try for the side. It came from a five-metre scrum and will never come much easier than he made it look, picking up the ball, running the open side and finding enough space to ground the ball with ease. Then, a 28th minute intercept by wing Manasa Mataele in his own territory opened up a chance that saw him feature twice along with halfback Jono Kitto, Dickson, the highly-promising Mitchell Gibson and finally first five-eighths Fergus Burke who completed the try. Otago finally got their attack together with Ioane taking the ball short of the line and then getting back in time to feed wing Freedom Vaha'akolo over from an inside pass. However, the second half belonged to Ioane as he landed four penalty goals, the last regaining the lead after replacement Alex Harford had landed a penalty goal. It was from wide out, but Ioane made no mistake and Otago compounded Canterbury's misery.

 

Otago 22 (Freedom Vaha'kolo try; Josh Ioane con, 5 pen) Canterbury 20 (Sam Dickson, Fergus Burke tries; Burke 2 con, pen; Alex Harford pen). HT: 10-17

 

 

Taranaki 47 Manawatu 35

 

Taranaki eventually continued to pour on the points, this time at Manawatu's expense. Manawatu centre Josiah Maraku profited from a cross-kick put in by fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder. It was taken by wing Tima Fainga'anuku who fed outside for Maraku to race along the sideline to score in the corner five minutes into the game. It took Taranaki time to get going. They waited 30 minutes before being awarded a penalty try from a scrum pushover attempt. A minute later halfback Liam Blyde sniped around the blindside in his own territory, kicked ahead and won the race to toe the ball on and then secure it in-goal. He was in again just before halftime, benefiting from fullback Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens' running a Manawatu kick back to open space through the middle of the field to have Blyde in support and able to go over in the tackle to score. While Fainga'anuku got one back for Manawatu early in the second half, Stephen Perofeta showed how much he relished starting at first five-eighths by taking a long lineout throw, stepping to his left and racing 35m to score. Wing Ed Fidow and replacement wing Griffin Culver each scored to get Manawatu to 32-28 but wing Vereniki Tikoisolomone and replacement back Josh Jacomb completed some snappy backline work to score tries for Taranaki to extend their lead before Manawatu got a compensatory try to replacement Drew Wild to end the game.

 

Taranaki 47 (Liam Blyde 2, Stephen Perofeta, Vereniki Tikoisolomone, Josh Jacomb tries; Penalty try; Perofeta 3 con, 3 pen) Manawatu 35 (Josiah Maraku, Tima Fainga'anuku, Ed Fidow, Griffin Culver, Drew Wild tries; Stewart Cruden 5 con). HT: 25-7

 

 

Hawke's Bay 41 Waikato 14

 

Shield holders Hawke's Bay signalled early intent in their defence by scoring within the first two minutes, hooker Jacob Devery going over from a lineout maul to rock Waikato. The visitors responded with their own mauling try 13 minutes later. Bay second five-eighths Danny Toala fed a perfect ball to wing Neria Fomai running on the angle to take ball to the goalline where Toala picked the ball from the back of the ruck to score. But Waikato came straight back with wing Liam Coombes-Fabling somehow finding a way to corkscrew through tackles to roll over for Waikato to claim a 14-12 halftime lead. Once Bay first five-eighths Lincoln McClutchie claimed the lead with a 54th minute penalty goal that was the last chance Waikato had. He backed that with a superb lob in-goal where Fomai soared to take the ball to score. Then, in the final 12 minutes, they slammed the door shut with tries to Tom Parsons, Fomai for his second - a length of the field dazzler set up by replacement Danny Tusitala - and replacement Ollie Sapsford. It was the ninth successful defence of the era.

 

Hawke's Bay 41 (Jacob Devery, Danny Toala, Neria Fomai 2, Tom Parsons, Ollie Sapsford tries; Lincoln McClutchie 4 con, pen) Waikato 14 (Steven Misa, Liam Coombes-Fabling tries; D'Angelo Leuila 2 con). HT: 12-14

 

 

Meanwhile, the Bay of Plenty v Northland match was postponed following the passing of Sean Wainui and Wellington defeated Southland 24-22 in a non-competition match in Porirua.

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