The Hawke’s Bay Magpies won their fifth straight Ranfurly Shield defence on Saturday afternoon, defeating neighbours Ngāti Porou East Coast 93-5 at McLean Park in Napier.
Hundreds of vocal fans supporting the Heartland Championship side were present to see their side test themselves against a formidable Magpies outfit.
Hawke’s Bay No 8 Gareth Evans opened the scoring off the back of a lineout maul five minutes into the contest.
The Magpies had their second try through Josh Kaifa after some good runs from Anzelo Tuitavuki and Dennon Robinson-Bartlett on either wing, then fullback Danny Toala cruised over to make it 17-0 inside 15 minutes.
The 22-year-old teed up the next try too, finding Tuitavuki open out wide with a long pass.
Hawke’s Bay got their lineout drive rolling again and Kianu Kereru-Symes dotted down to make it 29-0 before the half-hour mark.
The underdogs had the next say though, with hooker Jorian Tangaere crashing over after the Magpies failed to secure the kickoff and were put under pressure by the visitors.
They responded well enough though as Robinson-Bartlett scored a try thanks to a pinpoint kick-pass from first five Lincoln McClutchie.
Loosehead prop Namatahi Waa was the next on the board just before halftime.
There was a second try for openside flanker Kaifa shortly after the break.
Tuitavuki then doubled up with a spectacular solo run from more than 60 metres out.
And Danny Toala scored his second try in the 52nd minute, winning the race to the ball after a smart kick ahead from Gareth Evans.
Ngāti Porou had a good amount of attacking possession until McClutchie intercepted a pass and sprinted away for the Magpies’ 11th try.
Substitutes Pouri Rakete-Stones and Elijah Martin each got on the board with the Magpies having emptied the bench.
The prop bagged another try before fulltime, as did McClutchie with Hawke’s Bay running the ball from deep against a tired defence.
Magpies head coach Mark Ozich said the large amount of support for both teams made for a special occasion.
He added his team was now in a good place to build towards their final pre-season encounter, against Counties Manukau next week, which will hold them in good stead for the season proper.
The Magpies have a couple of weeks before their first NPC game of the year away against Taranaki, with the next Ranfurly Shield defence coming up against Otago on August 14.
Hawke’s Bay Magpies 93 (Evans, Kaifa 2, Toala 2, Tuitavuki 2, Kereru-Symes, Robinson-Bartlett, Waa, McClutchie 2, Rakete-Stones 2, Martin tries; McClutchie 9/15 con)
Ngāti Porou East Coast 5 (Tangaere try; Fraser 0/1 con)