Winning finish is Steelers’ goal
The Counties Manukau Steelers plan to finish their Mitre 10 Cup rugby campaign in style.
They’re up against semi-final bound Tasman at ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe, on Saturday at 7.35pm, in a match where the result is of little consequence to either team.
The Makos can’t be overtaken by the Steelers, and the Steelers’ place in the Premiership is secure after their nervous 29-24 win over Manawatu, and Auckland and Waikato’s respective losses to Tasman and North Harbour.
Coach Darryl Suasua says his Steelers are as motivated as they were at the start of their season.
‘‘We certainly still want to go out with a bang. We want to put together a performance that we can be proud of. It would be great to do it in front of our supporters.’’
Suasua believes the Steelers are not too far away from their best form, saying they showed enormous character in the victory over Manawatu at Central Energy Trust Arena in Palmerston North last Thursday.
‘‘That was a very gutsy performance against a team that had enjoyed wins over Premiership sides Tasman and Waikato,’’ Suasua says.
‘‘The lasting image I have of that game is the way the players collapsed to the ground at the final whistle. They’d emptied their tanks.
‘‘Manawatu is a side that likes running their opposition. But we stuck with them even though we were down to 14 men for 30 minutes of the match.
‘‘I took a photo of the players after the match and put it up on Facebook as a reminder of what it’s like to empty the tank. I want them to do it again against Tasman on Saturday.’’
Tim Nanai-Williams and Tevita Nabura were each sinbinned for 10 minutes, while captain Augustine Pulu was redcarded for making contact with a player’s head.
Ronald Raaymakers, Stephen Donald, Orbyn Leger and Nigel Ah Wong scored the Steelers’ tries, while Donald kicked three conversions and a penalty.
In the women’s rugby, the Counties Manukau Heat are back at the top of the Farah Palmer Cup after their 43-13 whipping of Wellington. First-five Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali scored three of her side’s six tries.
They play Manawatu in the final game of the round robin at Central Energy Trust Arena on Saturday at midday.
The Heat’s first-five Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali scored a try hat-trick against Wellington.