Counties Manukau grab big win
Fri, 07 Sep 2012 9:57p.m.
A big first-half has helped to take a free-running Counties Manukau to a 47-13 upset win over Bay of Plenty in the national provincial rugby competition.
In a cross-over match, the Steelers, from the second-tier Championship, ran in five tries to two against their Premiership opponents at Pukekohe.
The damage was done by half-time, when the home side had already gained their four-try bonus point and were leading 34-8.
The win was Counties Manukau's third of the season and moved them seven points clear at the top of the Championship, although they are the only team to have played four matches.
Bay of Plenty, meanwhile, remain bottom of the Premiership with two defeats from their three games.
The Steamers did lead briefly in the opening half, when a Phil Burleigh touchdown and a Nick McCashin penalty put them up 8-7.
But the Steelers, who had opened the scoring through a converted try to flanker Adam Cathcart, then took over.
Centre Rey Lee-Lo scored off a great offload from halfback August Pulu, before a superb counter-attack in which Lee-Lo played a big part was finished off by first five Baden Kerr.
Good work by Cathcart produced a try for fellow loose forward Mark Selwyn just before half-time.
Bay of Plenty struggled for fluency all night, but did manage a second try via replacement lock Dan Goodwin.
However, the Steelers had the final say when another flowing attack was finished off by reserve flanker Maama Vaipulu.
As well as his try, Kerr landed seven of his eight shots at goal to amass 22 points before being subbed off.
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