26 Sep 2009


9:54 pm on 26 September 2009

A hat-trick of tries to Hawke's Bay wing Zac Guildford helped the home side beat a feisty Manawatu in their Air New Zealand Cup rugby match in Napier, 35-30, and retain the Kel Tremain trophy.

Two tries in two minutes for wing Zac Guildford edged the home side in front at the break, the Magpies leading 18-14.

Both sides had finished the first half a man down because locks Matt Egan and James Goode were given yellow cards for a minor punch-up 10 minutes before the break.

Kurt Baker's superb chip and chase try got Manawatu's second half effort off to a good start, answered by Faka'anaua Taumalolo crossing in his 50th game for Hawke's Bay.

A penalty apiece saw the lead see-saw once again, before Guildford grabbed his third try, which also gave the Magpies a bonus point that raises them above Wellington and Bay of Plenty into third place on the table.

Manawatu are tied with North Harbour in tenth place.

Earlier Northland put up a surprisingly strong challenge for the Ranfurly Shield but Canterbury have held on to the trophy, winning their Air New Zealand Cup rugby match 31-21 in Christchurch.

Top of the table Canterbury led 16-15 at half time, and despite a stunning try by the defenders within a minute of the restart, Northland fought back to tie the game up 21-all.

But the decisive try came in the 66th minute when wing Sean Maitland was put across for his second try and Stephen Brett added the conversion and a late dropped goal.

Despite their dogged effort Northland failed to get a point from the game and remain third from bottom on the table, while Canterbury have extended their lead over second-placed Southland to five points.

In the Heartland competition, Wanganui, Poverty Bay, Horowhenua Kapiti, Mid Canterbury, Wairarapa Bush and South Canterbury will contest the Meads Cup section.

The fifth and final round of pool games was completed this afternoon.

That leaves the bottom finishing teams in both pools - West Coast, Buller, East Coast, North Otago, King Country and Thames Valley - to contest the Lochore Cup.