Bay of Plenty forward power seals win

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Saturday, October 15, 2016    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

The win gave Bay of Plenty a place in the Mitre 10 Cup Championship semi-finals next week and was firmly down to a powerful display from their pack spearheaded by No.8 Joe Tupe and flanker Henry Stowers.

Hawke's Bay had to endure a first quarter on defence as Bay of Plenty made use of the string of penalties the home team conceded, they opted to apply pressure through the scrum but in spite of numerous attempts they got no reward.

Instead, after Hawke's Bay cleared their line it was a Bay of Plenty scrum on the 22m line that provided the chance. The ball appeared to come out but was then taken back in and during that time the Hawke's Bay defence and flanker Tony Lamborn moved wide of the scrum. That was just the chance halfback Te Aihe Tomas needed and he used his feet to race through the gap and score in the tackle.

The try allowed Hawke's Bay to re-start and spend some time in the opposition half, time they used well, especially after a sizzling break by halfback Brad Weber. He linked with first five-eighths Ihaia West who went pushed toward the sideline, threw the ball into a Bay of Plenty player off whom the ball rebounded for Hawke's Bay to receive the throw.

They used it well to secure the ball, and then in an almost identical chance Weber ran around the back of the lineout and cut to the box and put his foot down to out-pace the defence to score.

Bay of Plenty stormed back deep into Hawke's Bay territory at the start of the second half and had better reward for their efforts with fullback Lalakai Foketi well placed to take a pass from first five-eighths Dan Hollinshead, who flung the ball nearly half the width of the field after a series of forward drives hadn't been able to find a way through the defence.

Foketi was left with a one-on-one situation and made no mistake.

Eight minutes later, in the 50th minute, Bay of Plenty's lineout regained its cohesion and from a drive five metres out they were too organized and it was replacement prop Solomona Sakalia who emerged with the ball to score.

But it was after a superb break by Foketi following an intercept of a promising Hawke's Bay attack that created a moment of controversy. Hawke's Bay No.8 Fa'alemiga Selesele was ruled to have infringed at the tackle of Foketi and Bay of Plenty kicked to the corner.

They won the lineout and attempted to repeat their earlier try by Sakalia but it was ruled that Hawke's Bay's replacement hooker Ash Dixon was ruled to have been obstructed as Tupe scored. What would have been the bonus point try was ruled out after the TMO looked at it.

However, the set-piece dominance Bay of Plenty had enjoyed, as much at the scrum as the lineout, resulted in them getting their bonus point try from an attempted pushover scrum when referee Paul Williams awarded a penalty try.

Hawke's Bay charged into the last 10 minutes of their season and saw Bay of Plenty lose Stowers for tackling a player on the ground which resulted in him being sent to the sin-bin. Hawke's Bay took advantage of the resulting penalty to play a lineout of their own five metres from the line and as they piled 11 into the line they secured the ball and centre Jonah Lowe ran through to touch down the first of two tries in three minutes.

His second came from a mid-field break by the Hawke's Bay loose forwards and good support on Lowe's part, and while they mounted a desperate attack in the dying seconds, they turned the ball over and Bay of Plenty survived.

Scorers: Hawke's Bay 24 (Brad Weber, Jonah Lowe 2 tries; Ihaia West 3 con, pen) Bay of Plenty 26 (Te Aihe Toma, Lalakai Foketi, Solomona Sakalia tries, penalty try; Dan Hollinshead 3 con). HT: 10-7

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