Hawke's Bay score three late tries to seal a dramatic finish

Hawke's Bay score three late tries to seal a dramatic finish

Hawke’s Bay snatched a dramatic late victory to remain unbeaten in the NPC after stunning Waikato with three late tries on Wednesday night.

The Mooloos were cruising to their first win in Napier since 2015 but collapsed in the final 13 minutes to slump to their second loss in a match where they led by 18 in the last quarter.

Replacement prop Tim Farrell’s double either side of Harry Godfrey’s effort sunk Waikato, with Farrell’s second, the match-winning score in the 78th minute, coming after a wonderful break from outside back Anzelo Tuitavuki.

Hawke’s Bay’s first 67 minutes was forgettable and full of errors on a torrid night for the hosts, but they sensationally won 35-32 and claimed the bonus point at McLean Park.

Waikato will have a long bus ride back to Hamilton, wondering how they let a bonus-point win slip away.

Both were losing quarterfinalists last year, playing their second match in the middle of a congested week, and Hawke’s Bay had two capped All Blacks halfbacks, Brad Weber and Folau Fakatava, in their 23.

Fakatava’s introduction after an hour coincided with their strong finish, as the hosts moved up to second with their third successive tight win after beating North Harbour and Counties Manukau by slim margins. They host Otago in Napier on Sunday for their third match in nine days.

The Mooloos welcome Taranaki to Hamilton on Sunday with a 1-2 record and remain sixth.

Waikato hooker Rhys Marshall continues to prosper at this level. His latest try cancelled out Marino Mikaele-Tu'u’s effort early in the second half when Hawke’s Bay only trailed by eight.

The Mooloos had a commanding half-time lead (22-7) and looked comfortable when winger Cody Nordstrom, one of their five debutants, finished smartly for their fifth try in the 54th minute.

They wouldn’t score again as Hawke’s Bay secured a remarkable victory in the dying minutes.


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