10 Sep 2016

Harbour and Otago win tight games

7:01 pm on 10 September 2016

North Harbour beat Manawatu 29-25 in Albany, before Otago shaded Tasman 30-27 in Dunedin in Saturday's matches of the provincial rugby competition.

The Harbour and Blues outside back, Matt Duffie, opened the scoring in Albany with a try in the corner in the third minute.

Manawatu's Hurricane centre Ngani Laumape answered with a try two minutes later, before the Highlanders bound Harbour winger, Tevita Li, crossed in the corner.

Laumape scored his second 12 minutes before half-time only for the Harbour centre, Michael Little, to break the line and score next to the posts with footwork and a fend reminiscent of his former All Black father, Walter.

Harbour's Michael Little runs in a try.

Harbour's Michael Little runs in a try. Photo: Photosport

Ahead 17-12 at half-time, Harbour were overtaken early in the second half when the Manawatu prop, Chris Eves forced his way across the chalk.

Harbour knew not to panic, however, and capitalised on Manawatu's lack of discipline with four penalty goals slotted by Bryn Gatland following his first-half conversion.

The Manawatu Hurricane, Otere Black, kicked two penalties of his own to go with two conversions only for Harbour to grind out the win.

Michael Collins of Otago looks to break the Tasman defence.

Michael Collins of Otago looks to break the Tasman defence. Photo: Photosport

In Dunedin, Otago loose forward Paul Grant scored the first try inside five minutes of the match against Tasman with his prop team mate, Craig Millar, crossing for the second about ten minutes later.

Tasman answered when inside back Alex Nankivell burst across the line from the base of a ruck and when their Crusaders centre, David Havili, cut the chalk after an impressive solo run.

Despite the loss of their halfback, Jonathan Ruru, to the sinbin, the Otago pack rallied to power loose forward Naulia Dawai into the try zone.

Tasman snatched a 27-21 lead at the end of the first-half, however, as their skipper, Shane Christie, crossed for well worked try.

No tries were scored in the second-half but the Otago first-five, Fletcher Smith, kicked three penalty goals to go with his three first-half conversions to pip the visitors by three points.