Magpies win Ranfurly Shield
September 1, 2013
Ihaia West confirmed the depth of New Zealand's five-eighths ranks
© Getty Images
Hawke's Bay won the hard way in claiming the shield for the first time since 1969, holding off a storming Otago after Buxton Popoali'i's had scored a try to put the Razorbacks within reach four minutes from the final whistle. Hayden Parker missed the difficult conversion that would have put Otago in front, but the home pack worked hard to gain territory and set up an opportunity for drop goal on the final whistle only for Hawke's Bay to charge down the attempt right to secure the win.
The Bay boasted impressive firepower in Alby Mathewson, Zac Guildford, New Zealand Sevens star Gillies Kaka and All Blacks prop Ben Franks, who took the field in the second half off the bench, but they struggled for early possession and Parker kicked two penalties to give Otago a 6-0 lead after 20 minutes. The Magpies looked increasingly dangerous as the first half progressed, however, with their hard work at the breakdown securing plenty of front-foot ball.
Otago's handling let them down at crucial times, while Hawke's Bay worked hard to hang on to the ball and their inside backs proved speedy, elusive and unpredictable.
Ihaia West put the visitors on the board with a penalty in the 31st minute and the Magpies claimed the lead just a minute later. Guildford collected the ball from a short Otago restart, Richard Buckman made a scything run and offloaded to Kaka, who timed his pass perfectly as Telusa Veainu stormed down the wing to score. West converted and added another penalty as Hawke's Bay took a 13-9 lead into the break.
West looked to have the game wrapped up as the hour mark neared, breaking from inside his own half and running through, around and away from the Otago defence. He converted his own try, and the visitors looked to have the game well under control at 20-9.
Popoali'i sparked the home side back into the game with strong running, and tries from Jayden Spence and the mercurial wing gave the Razorbacks hope of retraining the Ranfurly Shield, but Hawke's Bay did enough to disappoint the majority of the 22,000-strong crowd.
Hawke's Bay players celebrate at the full-time whistle in Dunedin © Getty Images
Hawke's Bay players show off the Ranfurly Shield © Getty Images
© AAP with Sportal
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