Counties-Manukau edge Manawatu in thriller

PETER LAMPP
Last updated 21:11 20/09/2012

Relevant offers

Provincial

Seven bonus-point in the opening round of Combined Country Cup rugby Neck strength could influence impact of concussions, Dunedin study finds Wellington is getting a Lions fan zone, but live match screenings not confirmed Glen Gregory returns to rugby to coach after battling back from concussion hell Former NRL player Tupou Sopoaga joins Highlanders as injury cover Former NRL player Tupou Sopoaga to play rugby in Southland in 2017 Crowley to replace Hammett as Tasman's new assistant NPC rugby coach New Zealand Rugby chief Neil Sorensen opens up to deliver strong message on mental health New Zealand provincial rugby could be a winner in new global rugby calendar Counties Manukau Rugby wants coaches to put their hands up for high school rugby

Counties-Manukau might have won their fifth rugby game in six this season but they had to battle to overcome Manawatu 31-28 at Palmerston North.

LATEST: In the end they did it by even claiming a bonus point for scoring four tries, all in the second half.

However, this was a thriller until the final seconds with Manawatu scoring through Lewis Marshall one minute from time to at least salvage a bonus point.

No one had given Manawatu a chance in Thursday night's game, not with Counties-Manukau being the runaway leaders in the Championship and the Turbos having won just two games, both away from home.

But in the second spell Counties-Manukau wore down the home side, got their wide game going and then hit the inside channels. Manawatu began making errors which gifted the ball back to DJ Forbes' team.

Second-five Bundee Aki helped himself to two easy tries, the first 10 minutes into the second spell and the last when a ball flew out of the back of the Manawatu scrum.

However, it took Counties-Manukau 66 minutes to snatch the lead when first-five Baden Kerr ghosted over.

It was a brave and impudent match from an under-strength Manawatu who next face Taranaki in a Ranfurly Shield challenge on September 29.

The Turbos knocked Counties-Manukau off their stride in the first half with their line speed and desperate tackling and probably should have led by more than 16-3.

Invariably they turned the ball over when they had the chance to shut Counties-Manukau deep in their own territory and were having difficulty holding their own in the scrums.

The only try of the half came to 19-year-old wing Willie Paia'aua only six minutes into his debut for Manawatu.

Quick hands through the Manawatu backs gave them a ton of room and Paia'aua sped over to stun Counties-Manukau.

A sideline conversion from Craig Clare added the icing and his 100 per cent shooting with the boot reaffirmed Manawatu's brave first-half display.
 
Counties-Manukau 31 (Bundee Aki 2, Sherwin Stowers, Baden Kerr tries; Kerr pen, 4 con)

Manawatu  28  (Willie Paia'aua, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Lewis Marshall, tries; Craig Clare  3 pen, con; Jason Emery con) 

HT 16-3.

Ad Feedback

- Manawatu Standard

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

What did you make of this year's ITM Cup?

It was as good a season as I can remember.

It was great to see the smaller provinces perform well.

I caught the odd game here and there.

Sorry, it was an utter snore-fest.

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content