Taranaki 23-10 Hawke's Bay, ITM Cup
Taranaki too strong for Hawke's Bay
September 11, 2013
A try in each half and the boot of centre Andre Taylor were enough to see the Amber and Blacks home in gale-force winds and driving rain at Yarrow Stadium. The win, their second of the competition, saw them move above Bay of Plenty and Waikato on the standings.
Hawke's Bay, meanwhile, completed a rollercoaster 10 days that began with their 20-19 Ranfurly Shield win over Otago and saw them lose the Log o' Wood to Counties Manukau. Fielding a team featuring 10 changes from the side that lost to Counties, Hawke's Bay had their chances in the second half but they missed tackles and handling errors at crucial times let them down.
Taranaki played with a strong following wind in the first half, but they couldn't break a 3-3 deadlock until four minutes from half-time as Hawke's Bay played a canny possession game for much of the opening 40 minutes, keeping the ball tight and forcing the Taranaki defence to work overtime. But the home team battled back, finally managing to string together phases at the right end of the field, and a strong attacking scrum and a quick feed from No.8 Blade Thomson combined to put scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park over the whitewash before the break. Taylor added the conversion and a late penalty to give Taranaki a 13-3 lead at the break, and he extended the lead with another penalty 15 minutes after the restart.
Taranaki, coming off a 51-15 thumping by Auckland, then ground out the win with a superb second-half effort up front in challenging conditions, capped by second five-eighth Ope Peleseuma's sliding 70th-minute try out wide.
Magpies No.8 Mark Atkins restored some Hawke's Bay pride with a good set-piece try from an attacking lineout two minutes from full-time.
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