Taranaki heap pain on the Magpies

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Saturday, September 23, 2017    Getty Images

The Magpies have stuttered through their campaign but had the chance to spark a late season revival against one of the Premiership front runners. It wasn’t to be as Taranaki piled on 34 second-half points to consign Hawke’s Bay to a battle for the Championship wooden spoon with Southland.


Taranaki’s win was built on a barn-storming forward effort. They played as a complete unit in swarming Hawke’s Bay at the breakdown, dominating the set piece and forcing the Magpies into errors through their overwhelming defensive pressure. While both backlines were evenly matched, it was upfront where Taranaki showed their true might.

After a tense opening period, Taranaki took control when Hawke’s Bay prop Pouri Rakete-Stokes was yellow carded. The Bulls made the most of the one man advantage by scoring converted tries to No.8 Toa Halafihi and fullback Marty McKenzie to take a 14-0 lead.

Once restored to fifteen men, Hawke’s Bay answered back in impressive style with two tries of their own to make it 14-10 at the break. Ihaia West’s try is worthy of a special mention as one of the individual efforts of the season. Playing in the unfamiliar positon of fullback, West soared high to claim a lofted ball at pace and run 60 metres to score a thrilling try.

Unfortunately for the Magpies, they couldn’t maintain the momentum as Taranaki took full control in the second half.

It was a performance befitting of a side who is placed second in the Premiership. With plenty of grunt in the pack, and flair outwide, Taranaki piled on 34 points in the second half to drive a nail into the Magpies season.

The win has shifted Taranaki to second on the Premiership ladder and sets up a blockbuster clash against Tasman at Yarrow Stadium on Thursday.

Hawke’s Bay 17 (Cardiff Vaega, Ihaia West, Jarvy Aoake tries, Dan Snee con) Taranaki 48 (Toa Halafihi, Ricky Riccitelli, Pita Sowakula, Adrian Wyrill, Sean Wainui tries, penalty try, Marty McKenzie try, 3 con, pen, Ciarahn Matoe con)
HT: 10-14