BOP Steamers defeat Southland in Rotorua

Sam Cane, captain of the All Blacks and the BOP Steamers. File photo.

All Blacks captain Sam Cane's long losing run is finally over, after his Bay of Plenty side beat a spirited Southland side 17-14 in Rotorua on Saturday.

The contest won’t win any beauty contests, but Cane won't care after picking up his first win since early March with the opening Bledisloe test just three weeks away.

Cane even won the final penalty of the game, getting over the ball as Southland launched a desperate attack.

The Stags, buoyed by last weekend's opening-round win, enjoyed some promising spells but their scrum and lineout was under pressure for most of the night, and the home side was just too strong in the second half.

Otere Black scored the only points of the second spell with a penalty, and showed glimpses of his Super Rugby class throughout, while Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi was influential at halfback.

The Bay of Plenty’s bench was also strong, with the likes of loose forward Joe Johnston, hooker Nathan Vella and Sevens captain Scotty Curry adding some impetus.

They made hard work of things though, with Cane guilty of a knock-on close to the sticks after 62 minutes with the score at 17-14.

By that stage, Southland were down to 14 men after hooker Greg Pleasants-Tate had been sent to the naughty chair.

However, Southland survived his 10 minutes in the sin bin, and they surged back into the game in the final 10 minutes, putting the Bay of Plenty under huge pressure close to their own line.

The first half was a tight affair, and Steamers wing Fa’asiu Fuatai opened the scoring after 11 minutes, somewhat against the run of play.

After the Stags had shown the greater early enterprise, Regan Ware made a nice midfield break and multiple phases late Fuatai ran a good line from a Black inside ball to power his way over the line.

Southland's attempts to build pressure were hampered by a wobbly lineout. The visitors lost their first four throws as Pleasants-Tate struggled to connect with his jumpers, despite the presence of Highlanders big man Manaaki Selby-Rickit.

The home side was happy to employ a fairly conservative game plan, using the boots of Black and No 15 Dan Hollinshead to search for territory.

The first half was a tight affair, and Steamers wing Fa’asiu Fuatai opened the scoring after 11 minutes, somewhat against the run of play.

After the Stags had shown the greater early enterprise, Regan Ware made a nice midfield break and multiple phases late Fuatai ran a good line from a Black inside ball to power his way over the line.

Southland's attempts to build pressure were hampered by a wobbly lineout. The visitors lost their first four throws as Pleasants-Tate struggled to connect with his jumpers, despite the presence of Highlanders big man Manaaki Selby-Rickit.

The home side was happy to employ a fairly conservative game plan, using the boots of Black and No 15 Dan Hollinshead to search for territory.

However, Pleasant-Tate's try sparked Bay of Plenty into life, and sharp halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi levelled the game with a fine individual try after spotting a lazy defender close to the ruck.

That score sent the teams into the sheds locked up at 14-14, but the Steamers returned from the break with a renewed sense of purpose and did enough to secure the victory.

Bay of Plenty 17 (Fa’asiu Fuatai, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi tries, Otere Black con, pen) Southland 14 (Amanaki Nicole, Greg Pleasants-Tate tries, Scott Eade con). HT: 14-14

MVP Points: 3 Keepa Mewett, 2 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 1 Manaaki Selby-Rickit

-Stuff/Paul Cully.




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