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Auckland beat Bay of Plenty in thriller

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/09/2016

Auckland centre, Rieko Ioane scored a brilliant hat-trick to help his side win against Bay of Plenty in Rotorua Auckland centre, Rieko Ioane scored a brilliant hat-trick to help his side win against Bay of Plenty in Rotorua Auckland centre Rieko Ioane scored a brilliant hat-trick to help his side see off Bay of Plenty 44-38 in an exciting NPC cross-over match in Rotorua.

Both sides ignored the damp conditions to score six tries each, with Auckland doing enough to notch a fourth win from seven games.

They return to fourth place in the premiership standings but only four points in front of Waikato and Tasman, who have both played one less game.

It was a welcome result, coming off narrow losses to Counties Manukau and Waikato.

Bay of Plenty suffered a sixth loss from seven games, dropping one place to fifth behind North Harbour in the second-tier championship division.

Their athletic No.8 Joe Tupe matched Ioane's hat-trick, giving him seven tries for the season, the most by any NPC player.

His third try helped Bay of Plenty recover from a 20-point deficit to be just 39-33 down with 10 minutes remaining.

Returning Auckland fullback Melani Nanai gave his team breathing space before Bay of Plenty second five-eighth Teddy Stanaway bagged his second to set up a tense finale.

New Zealand Olympic sevens representative Ioane was the game's outstanding figure, the 19-year-old underlining his potential with several scything runs.

He helped Auckland to a 25-19 halftime lead after having trailed 12-3.

Auckland first five-eighth Simon Hickey scored from a charge-down soon after the break, on his way to 19 points, before Ioane's third completed a run of 26 unanswered points for Auckland through the middle part of the game.

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