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Hawke’s Bay notched up four tries, all from lineout drives, at Rugby Park in Invercargill yesterday as the Stags fell to a 31-10 round one Mitre 10 Cup loss.
Southland co-captain James Wilson was pleased with aspects of the performance but said in certain areas they needed to be much better than they delivered against Hawke’s Bay.
Wilson acknowledged the lineout drive was one area which needed to be sorted out. However, first and foremost it started with discipline, he said."By giving away penalties they were able to plug the corner and obviously they just mauled it over after that.
"How many tries? Four? [conceded]. That’s just not good enough in this competition," Wilson said.
"In front of our home crowd we wanted to start the season off really well and put in a good performance. I thought at times we did that . . . but overall for 80 minutes we didn’t and obviously, the score shows."
Hawke’s Bay was awarded a kickable penalty after 11 minutes but opted to kick for touch instead of shooting at goal.
That set the tone in the game.
The visitors put together a well-worked lineout drive and loosehead prop Mark Braidwood planted the ball down to open the scoring.
The Tiaan Falcon conversion pushed it out to 7-0.
Ten minutes later, Hawke’s Bay went to the lineout drive again and again the Stags had no answer as openside flanker Josh Kaifa crossed for the Bay’s second.
It looked ominous at that stage, although the Stags faithful were given something to cheer about in the 25th minute through a bit of brilliance from a standout from last year, second five-eighth Matty Johnson.
Hot on attack, Johnson was able to get his arm free in the tackle and put wing Isaac Te Tamaki in to score.
First five-eighth James Wilson landed the extras from out wide before landing a penalty soon after to reduce it to 14-10 after half an hour of play.
But again, it was the lineout drive which was the thorn in Southland’s side as Hawke’s Bay turned down another kickable penalty to head to its impressive drive instead.
On the stroke of halftime, hooker Ash Dixon barrelled his way over and the Falcon conversion made it 21-10 at the break.
Eight minutes into the second half, Hawke’s Bay banked its bonus-point fourth try and, yes, it came from a lineout drive as Dixon crossed for his second.
Hawke’s Bay was reduced to 14 players in the 56th minute when it lost lock Michael Allardice for 10 minutes after a series of infringements but the Stags were unable to capitalise.
- Logan Savory
Isaac Te Tamaki try; James Wilson con, pen
Hawke’s Bay 31
Mark Braidwood, Josh Kaifa, Ash Dixon 2 tries; Tiaan Falcon 4 con, pen