Bay of Plenty 24 - 20 Hawke's Bay, ITM Cup
Steamers rewarded for Willie Ripia's gambles
August 25, 2013
Samisoni Fisilau was strong for the steamers
© Getty Images
Bay of Plenty's decision to play running rugby rather than kicking penalty goals saw them secure a 24-20 comeback win over Hawke's Bay in their ITM Cup match at Baypark Stadium in Mount Maunganui on Sunday.
Steamers captain Willie Ripia has come under scrutiny previously for his gambling habits, but his decisions to ignore all-but-guaranteed points from kickable penalties, in favour of chasing tries, saw his team overcome a 10-3 deficit and claim the points after Magpies and former All Blacks winger Zac Guildford was sin-binned in the final quarter; the Steamers scored 13 points in Guildford's absence.
The Steamers claimed their initial reward when Joseph Tupe had only to hang on to a charging maul that smashed through the Magpies from 10 metres, and they claimed the lead for the first time when Ripa sliced through the defence to score his side's second try with 20 minutes remaining.
Magpies first-five Ihaia West was central to a sold first-half performance, his uncanny ability to read play highlighted when he threw a looping pass over three players to wing Telusa Veainu for a try in the right corner. But he will rue the six points he left on the field with missed shots at goal.
Hawke's Bay enjoyed more than 60% each possession and territory in the first half, when they were awarded a whopping nine penalties, but that trend changed dramatically in the second spell and, ironically, two consecutive penalty goals by Ripia proved the difference between the sides.
West crossed 10 minutes from full-time to ensure a grandstand finish, but it was not enough as the Steamers notched their first win of the season and kept alive their hopes of staying in the Premiership.
Mark Atkins and Hawke's Bay dominated the first half © Getty Images