Thursday, October 9, 2014
Waikato ended their season with a 29-12 bonus point ITM Cup win over Bay of Plenty at Hamilton on Thursday.
There was a tired, end-of-season look to both sides. Too many handling mistakes and breakdown turnovers and general clutter meant there were few chances either side to achieve clarity in their play. The result was a poor display
The loss represented an ignominious record for Bay of Plenty. They were the first team to be relegated from the top division and to finish last in the next within a year.
Numerous frustrations for Bay of Plenty with ball in hand were belied with the clarity in which fullback Byron McGuigan scored his second try. The set piece move said left wing Siaiosi charge into the line from the short side, bust a hole and feed his fullback over.
That reduced the margin to five points but Waikato were roused into action, firstly when replacement prop Loni Uhila crossed only for the try to be disallowed due to an earlier obstruction in the movement.
But from the penalty Waikato launched another attack and with clean ball won in front of the posts the ball was moved right and wing Declan O’Donnell crossed in the 67th minute to secure the win.
After an untidy start from both teams with numerous turnovers it was Waikato who settled quickest and it was another turnover which allowed livewire first five-eighths Damian McKenzie to strike through a gap and at the breakdown loose forward Whetu Douglas gave halfback Brad Weber the perfect pass and he raced in under the posts for a 20th minute try.
McKenzie had earlier landed the opening penalty goal of the game.
But Bay of Plenty showed fine spirit after a turnover effected by halfback Jono Kitto which created a chance on the flank for wing Tino Nemani after a miss pass by lock Cullum Retallick and Nemani found fullback Byron McGuigan inside him and he scored.
Bay of Plenty started the second half with an extended period in the Waikato half but play broke down for them to benefit.
The deadlock was broken as Bay of Plenty attempted to run the ball from their own half. But as Retallick threw a pass, Waikato hooker Hame Faiva completed an intercept and raced 35m to get the ball over the line for the gamebreaker.
Unfortunately, an injury suffered in scoring the try resulted in him having to be helped from the field.
Halfback Jono Kitto was a busy player throughout for Bay of Plenty while hooker Joe Royal, No.8 Carl Axtens and flanker Johan Bardoul were prominent in set-up play.
Scorers: Waikato 29 (Brad Weber, Hame Faiva, Declan O’Donnell, Jordan Payne tries; Damian McKenzie 3 con, pen) Bay of Plenty 12 (Byron McGuigan 2tries; Dan Hollinshead con). HT: 10-5