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Bay heart sinks Waikato

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Saturday, October 1, 2005    allblacks.com    Photosport

With both sides out of Air New Zealand NPC semifinal contention, the two try to one victory was simply a matter of Bay of Plenty wanting it more.

Earlier, old-school forward play earned Waikato a penalty to second-five David Hill in the 18th minute, but the slender lead was short-lived. A wonderful burst by Bay of Plenty halfback Kevin Senio almost providing the ideal response until scrambling defence ensured wing Anthony Tahana was held up in-goal.

Nili Latu made sure that didn’t happen twice - the stocky flanker snaring a try from the very next set-piece. 7-3 and things got even better for the visitors as Tahana scorched over for the Bay’s second in the 25th minute.

14-3 Bay of Plenty.

It wasn’t all one-way traffic: Waikato flanker Marty Holah snaffling a turnover and taking the ball to the advantage line... before a searching pass from Hill gave flying No 14 Richard Kahui the extra couple of sideline inches he needed to dot down.

Unfortunately, while more points beckoned, a lack of tactical nous robbed both sides of continuity as the first spell drew to a close.

Halftime: 14 -10 Bay of Plenty

The poor kicking continued in the second 40. It was interrupted by a fine burst from Bay No 12 Grant McQuoid, who unfortunately also managed to elude his own players looming up in support. Instead, the visitors had to settle for a 48th minute penalty to first-five Mike Delany.

Waikato rallied, yet stubborn defence forced Hill to respond in kind.

17-13 Bay of Plenty.

More mooloo pressure followed, included the longest set of phases - nine – in the entire game, coming in the 72nd minute. But staunch tackling saw the homeside repelled time after time before the Bay broke downfield with just two minutes remaining.

Buoyed by a high penalty count and with time running out, Waikato attempted to finish this match the way they started - with a hard-driving, try-scoring forward drive. Yet again, they were robbed of possession in extra time by a defence that simply refused to yield.

Final score: 17-13

Scorers

Bay of Plenty. Tries: Nili Latu, Anthony Tahana. Conversions: Mike Delany (2). Penalties: Delany.

Waikato. Tries: Richard Kahui. Conversions: David Hill. Penalties: Hill (2).

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