Manawatu defy history for win

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Thursday, September 27, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Leaving their run late it took the home team 66 minutes to get over the line when replacement lock Aaron Carroll drove over for an overdue try, after yet more powerful driving play from the pack.

But in an outcome that was typical of their lost opportunities on the night, fullback Kaleb Trask, who had moved to first five-eighths, hit the upright with his conversion attempt from a handy position.

That proved crucial as Bay of Plenty scored through replacement Luke Campbell and with Trask's conversion they got within two points. Trask then had an injury time chance with a 50m penalty goal attempt but it fell short.

Manawatu proved far more accurate, in spite of taking a pounding up front, with first five-eighths Otere Black driving his side around the park and centre Rob Thompson probing for space and providing dangerous wing Junior Laloifi with chances.

Manawatu halfback Jamie Booth provided an outstanding start to the game when after a midfield ruck, following the opening lineout of the game, he broke on the blindside, threw a dummy and exploded through a gap, created mayhem among the Bay of Plenty defence and cleared out on a 60m run for the line to open the scoring 50 seconds into the game.

Bay of Plenty's response was to mount an 18-phase attack only to concede a penalty in the tackle which allowed Manawatu to clear. It became a repeating theme for the home team as ball was dropped while they failed to build on a decisive break by second five-eighths Liam Steel.

First five-eighths Jason Robertson did land a penalty goal for Bay of Plenty but was forced from the field with an ankle injury 31 minutes into the game.

From a long Bay of Plenty 22m dropout, Manawatu ran the ball back, and a long ball from Black found centre Hamish Northcott running at pace close to the sideline. He passed a short ball to wing Junior Laloifi who linked inside where fullback Sam Malcolm found himself in space and untroubled to run in the try.

Again, using their scrum to effect, even after losing prop Solomona Sakalia, Bay of Plenty got close to the line again but lock Baden Wardlaw was penalised under the crossbar for a double movement in attempting to score a try. Another penalty followed in the next play and Manawatu were into Bay of Plenty's half and from the second lineout, Laloifi was into the line and a third penalty was conceded.

Manawatu went to the driving lineout maul but were unable to secure the ball and Bay of Plenty cleared.

Into the second half, Bay of Plenty's defence after a Manawatu lineout drive from a penalty kick to the corner saw Laloifi bundled out in the corner by replacement wing Chase Tiatia.

A superb drive of their own off the line saw Bay of Plenty charge back upfield with halfback Richard Judd combining with wing Bailey Simonsson carrying the ball into Manawatu's half before yet another handling lapse turned the ball over.

Scorers: Bay of Plenty 15 (Aaron Carroll, Luke Campbell tries; Jason Robertson pen; Kaleb Trask con) Manawatu 17 (Jamie Booth, Sam Malcolm tries; Otere Black 2 con, pen). HT: 14-3