Steelers gutted by last gasp loss to Bulls
The Steelers see North Harbour as a chance to get their Mitre 10 Cup season back on track.
The two meet at ECOLight Stadium in Pukekohe on tomorrow night at 7.35pm in round four with the Steelers desperate to get back in the premiership race after back to back losses.
Their last minute 30-27 loss to the Taranaki Bulls in Palmerston North on Saturday was hard to swallow.
Coach Darryl Suasua says his players were gutted by the loss but remain confident they can bounce back and make the playoffs.
‘‘There is still time. The final placing in last year’s premiership weren’t decided until the final round so there’s still have plenty to play for.
‘‘Harbour are going really good. The way they demolished Auckland (57-10) was pretty impressive. It was a typically physical performance from them. They were pretty direct and very, very accurate.’’
Suasua says the lack of accuracy combined with simple mistakes at critical periods in the game was what tripped the Steelers up against Taranaki.
‘‘We lost our composure at key times in that game. We’d have the ball on attack and then turn it over with a simple mistake. We almost gifted Taranaki the game. The players were gutted and pretty upset in the sheds after the match.
‘‘North Harbour will be a challenge. We can’t give away the ball as cheaply as we did against Taranaki. Our decision making and accuracy needs to improve.’’
Jonathan Taumateine, who impressed behind the Steelers scrum, will likely get another start with the more seasoned halfback Augustine Pulu still complaining of a bad back.
A number of other players pulled up sore after the Taranaki game and didn’t train on Monday.
The Counties Manukau Heat led by Rugby World Cup winning Black Ferns, Victoria SubrtizkyNafatali, Te Kura Nagata Aerengamate and Hazel Tubic launched their defence of the Farah Palmer Cup with an 84-7 demolition of North Harbour in Pukekohe on Saturday.
The Heat scored 14 tries. Aroha Heta and Bernadette Robertson scored a hat trick each and Yuki Ono got a double.
The Heat face Wellington in the curtain-raiser to the Steelers/ North Harbour clash, at ECOLight Stadium on Saturday at 5.05pm.