Parsons toasts ton with a win and a brace

Gettty Images

Saturday, September 22, 2018    Campbell Burnes    Gettty Images

The score was locked at 34-all with around 12 minutes to play, but the visitors, who scored seven tries to four, showed far more composure and accuracy in the clutch to move closer to the top four in the Premiership.

First five Bryn Gatland led the way, slicing over for a late try and kicking six goals for 19 points. But he had plenty of assistance, notably from 31-year-old Parsons, who latched onto the back of two lineout drives for his 18th and 19th tries for a union he first appeared for back in 2007, and fullback Shaun Stevenson, who scored one try with his footwork and set up one up for Matt Duffie with a perfectly weighted grubber.

Stevenson was not the only player wearing the No 15 jersey who had a fine game. His opposite, and official player of the day, Jamie-Jerry Taulagi, stepped with deadly effectiveness to score his try and slotted six from six off the tee for his 19 points. He is forming a potent Magpies back three with Jonah Lowe and Mason Emerson.

Hawke’s Bay seized the early initiative via a try to young hooker Kianu Kereru-Symes. Gareth Evans, Lowe and Lincoln McClutchie all helped to keep the home side’s nose in front at the break.

North Harbour No 8 Hapakuki Moala-Liava’a drove his side over the gain line, working off a tight five which had the edge.

When Taulagi’s thrust set up Brad Weber to sail between the uprights, the Magpies took a 34-29 lead into the final quarter. But the Harbour pack, Gatland and Tevita Li’s sixth try of the season, along with Magpies errors and several turnovers, meant there was only going to be one winner in the final analysis.

Parsons was given the honour of kicking the final conversion, and he did the job from a wideish angle.
Harbour coach Tom Coventry, who assisted with the Magpies in 2011, will have taken special satisfaction from his team’s strong finish.

Hawke’s Bay has a short turnaround, next facing Northland in Napier on Wednesday night. North Harbour travels to Taranaki next Saturday.

*In the Farah Palmer Cup curtainraiser, the Hawke’s Bay Tui beat the Harbour Hibiscus 52-10.

Duane Monkley Medal points
3: JJ Taulagi (Hawke’s Bay)
2: Shaun Stevenson (North Harbour)
1: James Parsons (North Harbour)

North Harbour 51
(James Parsons 2, Matt Duffie, Shaun Stevenson, Tevita Li, Harrison Groundwater, Bryn Gatland tries; Gatland 4 con, 2 pen, Parsons con) Hawke’s Bay 34 (Kianu Kereru-Symes, Jonah Lowe, JJ Taulagi, Brad Weber tries; Taulagi 4 con, 2 pen) HT: 17-15 Hawke’s Bay