Wellington storm past Hawke’s Bay
Napier: An unstoppable second half performance from the Wellington Lions earned them revenge for last year’s NPC Championship final loss against Hawke’s Bay.
Trailing 12-7 at the break, the Lions ran riot in the second half at McLean Park in Napier yesterday to win 36-26, reversing the loss they suffered to the same side at the same ground last year. Impressive young first-five Jackson GardenBachop started the comeback, scoring a try inside the first five minutes of the second half to give his side some much-needed impetus. He put right wing Joe Hill through a gap on the 22, with Hill firing a return pass back in his direction. Knowing he couldn’t catch it, Garden-Bachop kneed the ball forward and raced ahead to be first to the loose ball over the tryline. It sparked a dominant 25-minute period, which 29-year-old Wellington debutant Galu Taufale capped in memorable fashion. The blindside flanker did good work in the buildup to get his side near the line before the ball was spun out to the right. Fellow debutant Pakai Turia then put in a beautiful cross-kick back out to the left, which found an unmarked Taufale to score in the corner. A Garden-Bachop conversion from the sideline had his side up 22-12. Hawke’s Bay had little answer as Wellington surged back towards the line.
Other results: Taranaki 30-22 Bay of Plenty, North Harbour 20-17 Counties Manukau, Wellington 36-26 Hawke’s Bay, Canterbury 43-3 Auckland. NZ Herald