The Counties Manukau PIC Steelers have gone down 53-20 to Wellington in their Mitre 10 Cup match at Navigation Homes Stadium with the visitors securing the Jonah Lomu Memorial Trophy in the process.
The home side dominated for large periods of the match and even led with 20 minutes to play.
But a couple of intercept tries broke the spirit of the home side and the Lions scored a host of tries in the final minutes to blow the score out.
The Steelers blew a couple of golden chances to ram home their advantage while they were leading. Jason Robertson dropped the ball with the line open while Latiume Fosita also dropped the ball with the line in reach.
When Wellington were let off the hook they made the home side pay in spades, picking off two attacking passes and going the length of the field on each occasion to turn a deficit into a sizeable lead.
It was a deflating way to lose a contest they were right in and coach Tai Lavea acknowledged he will have some work to do to get the players focused on Taranaki next weekend.
“That’s our job as coaches,” Lavea said. “To get the players back up for the next challenge.
“It was frustrating but we prepared well and we were up for the fight. You could see that with how we played.
“Once again it was key moments that cost us.”
The PIC Steelers are away to Taranaki next Sunday. They visit Albany to play North Harbour before a final round robin match against Southland back in Pukekohe in three weeks.
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