More nervous times ahead for Steelers faithful
Counties Manukau’s race to avoid going down to the second tier of the Mitre 10 Cup continues in Palmerston North on Thursday night.
Darryl Suasua and his nervous Steelers face hosts Manawatu at Central Energy Trust Arena in a match that may well decide their fate in the premiership division.
A bonus point victory against a side sitting third in the championship standings will keep them in the hunt for a place in semi final. It will also keep in tact the three point cushion the fifth placed Steelers’ enjoy over their southern neighbours.
A loss, on the other hand, will add to their nervousness going into their final game of the round robin against Tasman in Pukekohe, who are running fourth in their premiership.
It could leave them in last play if Waikato beat North Harbour on Sunday.
The Steelers earned themselves the breathing space with a scrappy 25-16 win over Northland on a wet and windy ECOLight Stadium in Pukekohe last Sunday.
It took a late try and penalty to substitutes Stephen Donald and Luteru Laulala to put the match against the Taniwha out of reach.
Before the match, the Steelers publicly farewell DJ Forbes, the legend of New Zealand Sevens side, who came to Counties Manukau from Auckland in 2008.
Forbes played 36 games for Counties Manukau between 2008 and 2015.
As for the New Zealand Sevens side, he played in over 60 tournaments as a player and a captain, won six Sevens World Series titles and two Commonwealth Games gold medals.
Counties Manukau chief executive Bart Hoggard paid tribute to Forbes and his career, while the Steelers, some former team mates, presented Forbes with a No.7 Counties Manukau jersey.
In women’s rugby, the Counties Manukau under-18s are the No. 2 team in the Chiefs region and fourth in the Northern region after they lost 22-14 to Auckland West in the playoff for third and fourth.
Counties Manukau Heat will be well rested going into their Farah Palmer Cup match against Wellington in Porirua on Saturday.
Mitre 10 Cup: Counties Manukau PIC Steelers 25 (Albert Nikoro, Tim Nanai-Williams, Stephen Donald. Baden Kerr con, pen. Luteru Laulala con, pen) Northland 16.
Draw: Manawatu v Steelers, Palmerston North. Date: October 7. Start: 7.35pm.
Points: Canterbury 35, Tara- naki 31, North Harbour 27, Tasman 21, Auckland 17, Counties Manukau 17, Waikato 14.
Farah Palmer Cup draw: Wellington v Counties Manukau Heat, Jerry Collins Park, Porirua. Date: October 7. Start: Midday.
DJ Forbes, left, and Counties Manukau chief executive Bart Hoggard, right, address the crowd at ECOLIght Stadium.