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Manawatu stun Canterbury in NPC

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/09/2016

Jackson Hemopo was the toast of Manawatu after his late try lifted the hosts to a stunning 19-13 NPC upset of Canterbury in Palmerston North.

The rangy lock crossed with two minutes remaining to hand Premiership leaders Canterbury their first loss of the season.

The defending champions had averaged more than 50 points per game through the first rounds.

However, they came unstuck against a Manawatu side who defended robustly and were considerably better at retaining possession.

Second-tier Championship division side Manawatu had lost two of their first four games and were expected to go down in a similar manner to last year's 57-17 thrashing when the teams met.

However, they more than held their own from the start after first five-eighth Otere Black kicked three penalties to Canterbury counterpart Richie Mo'unga's two.

Canterbury hit the front through winger George Bridge's converted try with 20 minutes remaining.

Black pulled his team back within a point with his fourth penalty before the decisive try in the 78th minute.

Canterbury winger Johnny McNicholl failed to ground a loose ball in the dead ball area and Hemopo's outstretched arm did enough to secure a memorable result.

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