Another upset win for Bay of Plenty

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Thursday, August 23, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

The home side had their chances, even in the last minute, but errors and Bay of Plenty's defensive determination undid them in the end and they were deserved winners.

Bay of Plenty made a strong start but battled for early reward in spite of having achieved several promising positions. One possible try was over-ruled by the TMO when it was revealed there had been obstruction earlier in the movement.

But, finally, after 23 minutes the points came after a series of strong pick-and-goes which resulted in halfback Richard Judd, who was outstanding in his support to the base of the rucks and quick clearance, flinging a wide pass to the outside where fullback Chase Tiatia took the ball to score.

Wing Sione Molia provided a spark for Counties Manukau around 30 minutes when getting his toe to loose ball and kicking ahead, only to lose his footing in the goalmouth.

But dangerous home fullback Luteru Laulala ran the ball back from the 22m clearance and when a penalty was awarded on the 22m line, Counties Manukau kicked to the line. The ball was secured by lock Viliam Rarasea and the maul was employed. Just as it broke up, hooker Joseph Royal kept his low trajectory and drove over for the try.

Counties Manukau blew a chance to claim the lead just before halftime, after second five-eighths Orbyn Leger fed Royal on a surge for the line. He was tackled short and then they lost the ball and it was toed the length by Bay of Plenty to force a 22. From the scrum, Bay of Plenty worked their forwards in pick-and-goes in a bid to score, their sole reward being a Mike Delany penalty goal and a halftime lead of 10-5.

Laulala gave Counties Manukau a great start to the second half when breaking and setting up a chance which, after the forwards had driven at the line, saw the ball released to the backs where first five-eighths Latiume Fosita flung it wide to Molia to score in the corner.

However, Bay of Plenty stormed back onto attack with Tiatia providing the impetus again and Judd was instrumental in constructing 13 phases of play in the home 22m area, making two breaks himself before crossing for a 51st minute try with his third.

If Judd had been a decisive player for Bay of Plenty, his replacement Luke Campbell maintained the momentum when placing a perfect kick into the box which bounced perfectly for Tiatia to secure the ball and the try.

Into the final quarter, Counties Manukau looked to be frustrated when unable to get over the line. Firstly, a nicely-judged grubber kick by Fosita looked to have provided the chasers with a certain try, but the goalpost got in the way and it was lost. Then from a lineout drive replacement hooker Gafatasi Su'a was held up over the line. From the five-metre scrum, Bay of Plenty were penalised and in a flash No.8 Sam Henwood tapped the ball and barged through for the try.

Counties Manukau worked a lineout maul from their last chance in the game, but the ball was held up in a maul and from the resulting scrum Campbell got the ball to touch to ensure the win.

Scorers: Counties Manukau 17 (Joseph Royal, Sione Molia, Sam Henwood tries; Latiume Fosita con) Bay of Plenty 22 (Chase Tiatia 2, Richard Judd tries; Mike Delany 2 con, pen). HT: 5-10