Bay of Plenty forward power beats Manawatu

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Friday, September 8, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Time after time Manawatu hammered at the Bay of Plenty line only to be turned back, and then have to endure a similar 15 minutes as Bay of Plenty returned the favour, but with more luck and better resources, to secure what was the match-winning penalty try.

It was an impressive display by the Bay pack, whose scrum was bolstered with the introduction of substitutes, with lock Culum Retallick and prop Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, putting in strong efforts.

There were also flashes of encouragement from livewire wing Monty Ioane who several times stretched the Manawatu side out wide with fullback Chase Tiatia chipping in at times as well.

In spite of lineout issues, Manawatu made an impressive start demonstrating their abilities on attack with first five-eighths Otere Black scoring in the seventh minute, courtesy of his in-pass to wing Ambrose Curtis who broke through the Bay of Plenty backline with halfback Kane Hammington in support. He then had Black racing up behind and the first five-eighths slid over the line for the try.

Then in the 20th minute it was centre Lewis Marshall, who ran a good line off a reverse pass from Black after a long build-up of phase play to beat several tacklers to score under the posts for their second try.

Bay of Plenty demonstrated the value of having their lineout accuracy in the 33rd minute when Tom Franklin, playing on the blindside flank instead of his usual locking position, secured good ball which was delivered for first five-eighths Kelly Haimona to in-pass to blindside wing Joe Webber.

The All Blacks Sevens representative was in full flight and able to breach the home defence and race in under the posts and provide Haimona with the easy conversion to get back to 13-14.

Into the second half Manawatu spent 15 minutes in the Bay of Plenty 22m area and attempted four driving mauls from lineouts but on each occasion the Bay of Plenty pack were outstanding in their defensive play eking out the slightest advantages to clear their line.

Then Bay of Plenty had their time on attack and also tried to use the power of their pack, especially through their scrum which had Manawatu in retreat

Several times they won penalties but eschewed the chance to kick for goal in order to play the lineout or the scrum. The breakthrough finally came after Manawatu No.8 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis failed to retreat 10m at a tap penalty and was sin-binned and out of the game with seven minutes remaining.

Manawatu were under extreme pressure as Bay of Plenty replacement prop Siegfried Fisi'ihoi took control and a warning was issued that any more infringements would result in a yellow card and the when the same thing happened a penalty try was awarded.

Manawatu had penalties go against them 11-3 in the second half and that reflected the difficulties they encountered in attempting to stem the Bay of Plenty scrum.

Scorers: Manawatu 17 (Otere Black, Lewis Marshall tries; Black 2 con, pen) Bay of Plenty 20 (Joe Webber, penalty try, tries; Kelly Haimona con, 2 pen). HT: 14-13.