ITM Cup: Final
Hawke's Bay pip Wellington for Championship title
ESPN Staff
October 24, 2015
Hawke's Bay celebrate winning the Championship title over Wellington © Getty Images
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Hawke's Bay 26-25 Wellington

Hawke's Bay have produced a storming finish, topped off by a sideline conversion from Ihaia West, to pip Wellington 26-25 in Napier and win the NPC Championship rugby title. In the Championship final two years ago, West missed a last-minute conversion as the Magpies fell to Tasman by the exact same scoreline.

There was no mistake this time around as, with two minutes left on the clock, he curled the ball on target to add the extras to winger Mason Emerson's try. West finished with a 16-point haul, landing all his six shots at goal as Hawke's Bay gained promotion to the ITM Cup's top-tier Premiership next season.

Wellington, whose ability to steal line-out ball was again a feature on Friday night, outscored the Magpies three tries to two, with 53-Test winger Cory Jane getting a brace. But Jane, who missed out on the All Blacks' World Cup squad after an injury-hit year, got hurt as he dotted down for his second in the 68th minute and had to go off.

Wellington made a flying start to the contest at McLean Park, halfback Frae Wilson's support play earning him a try after just a minute. The Lions got their second five-pointer on the half-hour, Jane crossing after the forwards had pounded at the line.

The Magpies stayed in touch through West's boot and they closed to within four points at half-time after centre Robbie Fruean barged his way over for a post-hooter try. A West penalty narrow the gap to a point before Jane got his second touchdown to give Wellington some breathing room.

But the Magpies wouldn't lie down and they got their reward when Emerson finished off a sustained long-range attack.

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