A spirited Ranfurly Shield challenge came up just short for the Counties Manukau PIC Steelers on Friday night as Hawke’s Bay claimed a narrow 33-32 victory at McLean Park.
The PIC Steelers conceded an early try and were chasing the game from that point on.
A pair of Riley Hohepa penalties had the visitors within a point at the midway stage of the first spell before Hawke’s Bay took advantage of a stream of penalties to score three more tries before the break.
Discipline was an issue as Reon Graham’s side drew the ire of referee Ben O’Keefe. Number eight Sam Tuifua was given a yellow card after repeated infringements from his side.
A brilliant solo Etene Nanai-Seturo try got the PIC Steelers rolling and they began to mount a late comeback for the second week running.
A period of attack eventually saw replacement hooker Ioane Moananu cross for a try that drew the visitors to within one after Hohepa’s conversion.
But that was all they could muster as the Magpies held on for victory.
The signs are good however with Reon Graham’s side showing plenty of heart in their first games of the season.
They face defending champions Waikato at Navigation Homes Stadium next Friday night.
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