Manawatu edge Bay of Plenty for third victory
The Manawatu Turbos won their third game in four outings by beating Bay of Plenty 29-27 in their NPC rugby match at Palmerston North tonight.
It was a game with too many errors, but Manawatu looked more dangerous when they had the ball on attack and were more lethal from long range.
However, they scored only three tries, missing out on the bonus point.
For Bay of Plenty it was their fourth successive loss, even if they had enough ball to have won the game had they had the attacking weapons.
They did score four tries to snatch a bonus point, adding their two second-half tries in the final five minutes when the Turbos had their subs on.
Manawatu effectively won the game six minutes after halftime when their young first-five Otere Black got the ball on his 22 from a Dan Hollinshead spill, took off and handed off to the speedster Newton Tudreu who outgassed the Bay defence.
It required the video ref to confirm it but that took Manawatu to 26-12.
Bay of Plenty relied heavily on a kicking game and Manawatu made their share of mistakes.
However, they had x-factor players like fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder and Jason Emery.
For Bay of Plenty, they conceded too many penalties in the first half and first-five Black cashed in.
Bay centre Siaosi Iomgi and Tino Nemani were a handful for the home defence while flanker Callum Gibbins was again the standout in the Manawatu forwards.
In the first spell it took half an hour before Manawatu applied anything like their turbochargers and they responded with two tries in three minutes.
Their silky fullback Milner-Skudder, had a hand in both tries. The first came when they applied their first sustained pressure of the game and Milner-Skudder and Emery put big wing Nathan Tudreu over.
Soon after Milner-Skudder showed how slippery he can be by breaking 60 metres up the centre of the field from his own 22 and than he flicked a magical backflick pass and No 8 Antonio Kiri Kiri flopped over.
And yet for threequarters of the first half Bay of Plenty had a mortgage on the ball.
The Turbos battled to win ball from kickoffs and their lineout was battling to provide clean ball.
A suicidal Manawatu chip kick from deep backfired and from a consequent lineout, burly Bay tighthead prop Siegfried Fisiihoi was unstoppable close to the line.
Yet another lost Manawatu kickoff allowed Bay of Plenty to return to the attack and their captain and lock Culum Retallick virtually strolled over in the corner.
A difference between the teams was in goal-kicking, Black banging all but one over in the first half.
Manawatu 29 (Nathan Tudreu, Antonio Kiri Kiri, Newton Tudreu, tries; Otere Black 4 pen, con) Bay of Plenty 27 (Siegfried Fisiihoi, Culum Retallick, Mike Kainga, Joe Royal, tries; Dan Hollinshead con; Byron McGuigan pen; Te Aihe Toma con). HT 21-12.
What did you make of this year's ITM Cup?