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Hawke's Bay win NPC basement battle

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/09/2016

Ihaia West starred as Hawke's Bay won the clash of the two bottom-ranked teams in the NPC. © Rob Jefferies/Getty Images Ihaia West starred as Hawke's Bay won the clash of the two bottom-ranked teams in the NPC. Southland remain rooted to the bottom rung of the NPC after succumbing to a strong-finishing Hawke's Bay 43-29 in Invercargill.

The clash of two winless NPC teams was decided in the second spell after the visitors had trailed 12-10 at the break.

Having lost their first five games, including last week's 63-7 hammering from Canterbury, Hawke's Bay played with verve and a tighter defence.

They snatched a bonus-point win which failed to lift them off their last placing in the Premiership division.

It was a fifth successive loss for Southland, who remain two points below winless Northland in the second-tier Championship division.

Hawke's Bay, who had conceded nearly 45 points per game, leaked just two tries in the final quarter, to Southland reserve prop Peni Ravai and winger Tauasosi Tuimavave.

By that time, they had virtually sealed victory, notching five second-half tries to Ash Dixon, Matt Garland, Mason Emerson, Ihaia West and Tony Lamborn. Their only first-half try went to halfback Brad Weber.

First five-eighth West, playing his 50th NPC game, scored 18 points and was a constant attacking threat.

He only blotted his copybook when shown a yellow card late in the first half.

Southland No.8 Mika Mafi was sent to the sin bin at a similar stage, also for a yellow card, reducing the fixture to 14 against 14 either side of halftime.

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