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Hawke's Bay rain on BOP parade

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Saturday, August 13, 2011    Sportal.co.nz    Getty Images

Bolstered by All Black flyers Zac Guildford and Israel Dagg, the Championship front-runners made a strong statement they're looking for promotion into the top ranks next season.

Guildford and Dagg will jet off to South Africa to join the All Blacks Tri Nations squad on Sunday after helping themselves to three of Hawke's Bay's four tries, haunting the home side with a classy display.

The loss was Bay of Plenty's third on the trot while Hawke's Bay have claimed consecutive Premiership scalps after hammering Wellington in their last outing.

Guildford was only called into the Magpies team on Thursday night while Dagg has been out of all rugby since May after rupturing a tendon in his leg for the Crusaders.

He played 30mins for his Napier club side and was subbed on early for the Magpies as he looked to prove his fitness to All Black coaching staff.

Hawke's Bay made a fast start, nicking a Bay of Plenty lineout, turning a ruck over and chasing hard as Guildford burst through.

With the defence under pressure, Hawke's Bay halfback Kahn Fotuali'i shot through a gap and scored under the posts. Second-five Andrew Horrell converted.

A brilliant counter-attack by Lelia Masaga set up Bay of Plenty's first points after 15mins, when Karl Lowe was penalised for offside play at a ruck.

The home side also had opportunities to score through halfback Jamie Nutbrown, who ducked blind from a scrum, and wing Jason Hona, who was on the end of a slick backline move.

However, both attacks were extinguished by classy Hawke's Bay defence, which held wave after wave of blue and gold jerseys.

The Magpies lost one All Black when hooker Hika Elliot hobbled off after 26mins with an ankle injury but gained Dagg when the 23-year-old was subbed on minutes later at fullback.

After absorbing almost 15mins of constant pressure, Hawke's Bay made a rare incursion into the opposition half, then won a penalty after a head-high tackle by Steamers second-five Steve Kefu on his opposite Horrell.

Horrell added the three points, then from the restart, lock Kane Thompson broke on a weaving 40m run, expertly drawing home fullback Toby Arnold before feeding Dagg, who loped in under the posts.

It enabled the visitors to go to the break 17-3 ahead, a margin Horrell extended a minute into the second spell with another penalty.

The Steamers lost captain Colin Bourke and wing Lelia Masaga to injury but managed to claw three points back through a Waenga penalty.

Guildford sealed things for the visitors after a torrid second half, however, latching onto a Dagg break with 11mins left and racing in to score.

Although Luke Braid rumbled over late in the piece for the home side, Guildford had the last say with a bonus-point try with time up on the clock.


Scorers:

Bay of Plenty 13 (Luke Braid try; Dan Waenga con, 2 pen) Hawke's Bay 32 (Zac Guildford 2, Kahn Foutali'i, Israel Dagg tries; Andrew Horrell 2 con, 2 pen; Fotuali'i con). HT: 3-17