Manawatu 15 - 12 North Harbour, ITM Cup
Turbos win to boost confidence
September 8, 2013
Tevita Tahui celebrates victory with the Turbos' mascot
© Getty Images
Manawatu have registered their first win of the 2013 ITM Cup Championship, the Turbos boosted by a significant wind advantage in the second half to score two unconverted tries that saw off a stoic North Harbour challenge.
Manawatu opened the scoring with an unconverted try from hard-working No.8 James Oliver, but North Harbour responded 20 minutes later through Nafi Tuitavake, who capped a superb attacking first half with a deserved try. The conversion from Jon Elrick secured North a 7-5 lead heading into half-time, but they relinquished the advantage almost immediately after the break.
Jason Emery used the wind to advantage with a deft kick that found Nehe Milner-Skudder to score his third try in ITM Cup rugby.
Manawatu gained a noticeable confidence boost, symbolised by their third try through Rob Foreman. Foreman's throw into a disappointing lineout was secured by a North Harbour player only for the hooker to snatch back the ball and dive over the line to extend their lead to 15-7.
Tuitavake and centre partner Pita Ahki were menacing all day for North, and the former instigated the visitors' second try with a superb sideline break with seven minutes remaining. Rhe second five-eighth was pulled down just metres from the try line, but Michael Little picked up the ball straight from the breakdown and placed it over the line five metres away.
North Harbour captain James Parsons turned down a relatively kickable penalty that would have secured a 15-15 draw, electing instead to tap the ball and play on. The decision didn't pay off, and they were left to rue their second bonus-point defeat of the season that saw them drop to equal last on the Championship ladder with Manawatu.
Pita Ahki was strong for North Harbour © Getty Images