Last minute try does it for Māori rugby revival in Hawke’s Bay


Pauro Erkell in the type of action that led to him scoring the winning try for Hawke’s Bay Maori v Hawke’s Bay Samoa at Clive. Photo / Paul Taylor

It took a while and ended in seconds as the Te Matau a Maui Hawke’s Bay Maori beat Hawke’s Bay Samoa 26-25 with a last-second try at Farndon Park, Clive, on Saturday.

With the intervention of Covid-19, neither unit had fielded a team in the past three years, and the Maori looked well out of the match down 15-0 at halftime, with the sun at their backs, and then 20-0 soon afterwards and having confirmed four tries.

It was ultimately the Samoans’ failure to land any goals from their eventual five tries that made the difference as the Maori made the best of some isolated raids into the opposition territory, facing the sun, to score four tries at the shady end, three of them converted.

It had been 25-7 with 20 minutes to go, and Te Matau a Maui, having had their first scheduled match canceled a week earlier and playing the first of a remaining five games reviving the Hawke’s Bay Maori rugby kaupapa this season, took the lead for the first time and won the game only when lock Pauro Erkell crashed through the defense on fulltime.

The other Maori tries were scored by center Nathan Ramsey, flanker Ziah Taumoepeau, wing Tipene Meihana, with conversions added by fullback Tianu Poto (2) and first five-eighths Jayden Falcon.

The HB Samoa tries, in a match that stood out for the spirit and pace at which it was played, were scored by prop Dennis Tapusoa, fullback Tom Iosefo, hooker Amiga Mikaele, loose forward Toleafoa Faalemiga Selesele, and lock Jessie Lesa Sipaia.

The two sides meet again in a taonga match on September 3.

Meanwhile Hawke’s Bay development side the Saracens suffered a surprise 22-17 loss to NPC Heartland side Poverty Bay at the Gisborne Boys’ High School Rectory on Saturday.
The Saracens led 12-5 at halftime, against a Poverty Bay side that included Wairoa vet and giant Wairoa Athletic lock Adriaan Brits, from South Africa, and loan player and Napier Tech Old Boys veteran Ted Walters, at centre.

The Central Hawke’s Bay sub-union side, having lost its first two matches to Heartland sides Wairarapa-Bush and Horowhenua Kapiti, had a 24-17 win at Takapau on Saturday over Manawatu Maori, who will play HB Maori in Palmerston North on Saturday. Central led 7-7 at halftime, and it was 17-all in the last quarter before the home side scored a late converted try.

The Wairoa sub-union also has a team in training for a challenge in the 100th season of the Barry Cup, presented to Wairoa in 1923 for competition with sub-unions from Poverty Bay and East Coast. It is held by Te Karaka-based Waikohu, who on Sunday won their second defense of the season.

Wairoa last held the cup in 2005.

A last-minute conversion miss ended the Wairoa College first 15’s Hawke’s Bay secondary schoolboys Division 1 competition for the season when it was beaten 21-20 by Lindisfarne College in Wairoa on Saturday. The final will be on Saturday against the Hastings BHS third 15, who last Saturday beat Central Hawke’s Bay College32-12 in their semifinal.

Also on Saturday, Napier BHS hosts Palmerston North BHS in a match to decide who plays Hastings BHS in the Hurricanes schools competition central playoff, for the right to play the top Wellington side for the Hurricanes region title and a place in the national schools Top Four championship.

The central North Island Super 8 schools first 15s, with Napier and Hastings boys high schools just missing places in the final, ended with Rotorua BHS scoring a last-minute try and conversion to claim the title by beating near-perennial defending champion Hamilton BHS 20 -19 in Hamilton on Saturday.


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