Counties Manukau deny Turbos victory
Counties Manukau have given their chances of survival in the premiership a major boost with a bonus-point 29-24 win over the Manawatu¯ Turbos in Palmerston North on Thursday night.
It was a pulsating finish with both teams finding plenty of attacking room.
The Turbos had looked to have scored the match-winner with two minutes to play when Jason Emery crossed the line, but it was ruled out through obstruction.
Counties Manukau bravely held on on defence, even after they were reduced to 14 men for the final six minutes after Augustine Pulu was red carded for a reckless high tackle on Jade Te Rure.
That was one of four cards on the night, with Tim NanaiWilliams (slapping down the ball), Antonio Kiri Kiri (collapsing the maul) and Tevita Nabura (late shoulder charge) all shown yellow cards at the game.
Both teams were full of running from the opening minutes.
Manawatu¯ had the first attacking chance as Brice Henderson broke a tackle and charged into space.
He offloaded to Kayne Hammington, but his pass to a wide open Ambrose Curtis was knocked down by NanaiWilliams.
That action earned the Counties Manukau fullback 10 minutes in the bin.
From the ensuing lineout, Michael Alaalatoa drove over the line for Manawatu¯.
Stephen Donald registered Counties Manukau’s first points in the 13th minute with a penalty.
Manawatu¯ got close again on the back of a couple of penalties for high shots from Counties Manukau.
But they eventually settled for an Otere Black penalty.
When Counties Manukau had their first attacking chance, Manawatu¯ collapsed the maul and referee Glen Jackson was back into his pocket for Kiri Kiri.
The Steelers kept attacking and Ronald Raaymakers crossed in the corner.
The Turbos lost prop Fraser Armstrong to a nasty head knock with Pauliasi Manu in the 22nd minute.
Just minutes later Newton Tudreu fired a messy offload and Stephen Donald ended up scoring in the corner for Counties Manukau.
Te Rangitira Waitokia was having a storming game dragging in a try-saving tackle on NanaiWilliams.
Then he made a slicing run through Counties Manukau to set up Tudreu one of the tries of the season five minutes before halftime.
But they handed the lead back to Counties Manukau on halftime when Orbyn Leger went straight through a big hole to put the Steelers up 22-17.
Manawatu¯ looked destined to score early in the second half when Kayne Hammington and Tudreu combined for a break.
But as the ball was spread wide, Waitokia dropped it with an open tryline in front of him.
Counties Manukau were off the hook and back on attack when the Turbos counter attacked.
Tudreu found a hole and combined with Black and then Ambrose Curtis for the long-range try.
To make matters worse for the Steelers was that Nabura was yellow carded at the same time for a late shoulder-charge on Black.
But Manawatu¯ were not able to capitalise and when they left a big hole in the midfield, Nigel Ah Wong was over for the bonuspoint try.
Manawatu¯ pushed hard as Pulu was sent off, however, they could not find the crucial try they needed.
Counties Manukau 29 (Ronald Raaymakers, Stephen Donald, Orbyn Leger, Nigel Ah Wong tries; Stephen Donald 3 con. pen)
Manawatu¯ Turbos 24 (Michael Alaalatoa, Newton Tudreu, Ambrose Curtis tries; Otere Black 3 con, pen) . HT: 22-17
Augustine Pulu was red carded for a reckless high tackle on Manawatu¯’s Jade Te Rure.