Manawatu and Northland enjoyed victories on the opening Saturday of New Zealand's ITM Cup for 2011.
Manawatu vs Hawke's Bay, 32-23
The Turbos led just 11-9 after an unmemorable first half in their home match at FMG Stadium in Palmerston North and it took two late tries to seal the victory and earn them a bonus point.
Things picked up with a try from a scrum by Aaron Smith just before half-time and then three more for the Turbos in the second half. But there were anxious moments especially when Hika Elliot stole Manawatu's ball to set up a long attack and Ryan McLeod opened the scoring in the second half and gave the Magpies the lead.
But Aaron Cruden, who did not have a good afternoon with the boot, broke and gave wide to Tikoirotuma who played inside to Tomasi came a, who scored.
Back came Elliot and his Magpies and McLeod put wing Sinoti Sinoti in for a try and the visitors led 23-18. The Turbos made the best of the remaining 20 minutes. The forwards mauled and bashed till they went wide to Casey Stone who cut through. Cruden converted and the Turbos led by two points. Just before the end Hamish Gosling got the try that denied the Magpies of a bonus point but secured one for his side.
Tries: Aaron Smith, Tomasi came a, Casey Stone, Hamish Gosling
Cons: Aaron Cruden 3
Pens: Aaron Cruden 2
For Hawke's Bay:
Tries: Ryan McLeod, Sinoti Sinoti
Cons: Andrew Horrell 2
Pens: Andrew Horrell 3
Northland vs Tasman, 19-9
Two early tries set up Northland's victory over Tasman at ITM Stadium in Whangarei on Saturday afternoon. And they have a lot to thank René Ranger for.
Playing centre Ranger made the first try with a grubber that flank Daniel Faleafa grabbed to score just two minutes into the game. After a penalty by Andrew Goodman, Jared Payne counterattacked and chipped. Aaron
Bancroft cut in to the ball and t scored the first of his tries. That made the score 12-3 and the only other score in the half was a second Goodman penalty.
Bancroft got a second try in the second half when the Makos' only points were from a penalty. Yet they could have had two more tries but for Ranger's outstanding defensive work.
Tries: Daniel Faleafa, Aaron Bancroft 2
Cons: Lachie Munro 2
Pens: Andrew Goodman 3
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