Steel­ers hold off hot fin­ish­ing Steam­ers

Franklin County News - - OUT & ABOUT - JOHN BOYN­TON

The Coun­ties Manukau Steel­ers set their home sea­son off on a high note beat­ing the Bay of Plenty steam­ers 39-34 at ECO­light Sta­dium on Sun­day af­ter­noon.

Both teams com­bined to score 10 tries in an en­ter­tain­ing game where mo­men­tum shifted through­out.

Af­ter a slow start, trail­ing 11-15 at half­time, the Steel­ers pro­pelled them­selves into a 39-15 lead cour­tesy of scor­ing four tries in a row.

How­ever, they were made to hang on as the vis­i­tors raced home with three tries in the fi­nal 12 min­utes to close the mar­gin.

The home side took some time to find their rhythm as the Steam­ers’ pack pro­duced some phys­i­cal play.

Grad­u­ally the Steel­ers gained par­ity up­front and their much vaunted ruck-and-run rugby started to make in-roads.

They took full ad­van­tage of a yel­low card to Bay of Plenty winger Monty Ioane for a deliberate knock-on which earned a penalty try as well as 10 min­utes in the bin. The Steel­ers were a dif­fer­ent team in the sec­ond half with big lock Vil­iame Rarasea ro­bust in set play and in the loose, while No 8 Sootala Fa’aso’o en­joyed a strong out­ing.

In the backs, Piers Fran­cis kicked su­perbly while his com­bi­na­tion with Au­gus­tine Pulu was also key for the Steel­ers. Cen­tre Sam Vaka found form in the mid­field, with some storm­ing runs to set up at least two of the five tries. As­sis­tant coach Grant Hen­son said the team was happy with the win in the end, but it got a lit­tle too close for com­fort.

‘‘It was good to get the win, but we prob­a­bly should have put the foot on the throat at the end. Bay of Plenty came back at us and made a real game of it in the end. But we got the five points, so we are happy with that.

‘‘Our mes­sage at half time was to tidy up the break­down and in the sec­ond spell that made a dif- fer­ence. We ti­died up our clean­ing sys­tem and that got us good go for­ward.

The Steel­ers next game is against Hawke’s Bay on Thurs­day 1 Septem­ber at McLean Park in Napier, kick off 7:35pm.

Coun­ties Manukau 39 (Vil­iame Rarasea, Jor­dan Tau­fua, Sher­win Stow­ers, Sione Mo­lia, Penalty tries; Piers Fran­cis 2 penal­ties, 4 con­ver­sions). Bay of Plenty 34 (Monty Ioane 2, Hugh Blake, James O’Reilly, Re­gan Ware tries; Kelly Hai­mona 1 penalty, 1 con­ver­sion; Te Aihe Toma 2 con­ver­sions).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.