Coun­ties Manukau deny Tur­bos vic­tory

Franklin County News - - OUT & ABOUT - SHAUN EADE

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

HAGEN HOP­KINS/GETTY IMAGES

Au­gus­tine Pulu was red carded for a reck­less high tackle on Manawatu¯’s Jade Te Rure.

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