Still a glimmer of hope for Poverty Bay to make Lochore Cup semifinals

Must beat Buller in Gisborne on Saturday

Must beat Buller in Gisborne on Saturday

TWO-TRY MAN: Poverty Bay left wing Te Peehi Fairlie takes on Thames Valley centre Sam McCahon at Rugby Park last week. Fairlie bagged two five-pointers against King Country in Taupo in a Heartland Championship game on Saturday but it wasn’t enough to stop King Country from winning 59-38. Picture by Paul Rickard

Poverty Bay still have a chance of making the Lochore Cup semifinals, despite their 59-38 loss to King Country in Taupo on Saturday.

They have one round in rugby’s Heartland Championship before the top-eight playoffs.

To earn a place in the Lochore Cup semifinals for teams placed fifth to eighth, Poverty Bay — currently 10th in the 12-team competition — must beat Buller in Gisborne this Saturday.

Buller caused the upset of the round when they thumped Mid Canterbury 37-19 in Westport at the weekend.

The Bay also need sixth-placed Wairarapa Bush to beat ninth-placed North Otago, and King Country (fourth) to beat Mid Canterbury (seventh).

Those results would put Mana Otai’s team into the playoffs in eighth place.

With West Coast (eighth) tipped to beat Ngati Porou East Coast (12th) to secure their spot, the Bay will be sweating on the outcome of the other two matches.

Against King Country, the Bay failed to fire a shot in the first 40 minutes and were down 31-0 at halftime.

But in a remarkable comeback they scored six tries to earn a bonus point and keep their playoff hopes alive.

“We were slow out of the blocks and King Country were fired up,” Otai said.

“I didn’t need to say much to the boys at halftime. They knew we hadn’t played well. They knew what had to be done, and they did it. We had a much better second half.

“We scored two converted tries straight after the break but we were always behind the eight ball. We scored 38 points in the last 40; King Country scored 28. Our defence wasn’t good.”

One minute after the restart, left wing Te Peehi Fairlie scored the first of his two tries. Fullback Andrew Tauatevalu converted. Seven minutes later, skipper and hooker Tamanui Hill scored. Again, Tauatevalu added the two points.

“We scored some brilliant tries, which is a positive, but defensively we let ourselves down,” Otai said.

He wasn’t too worried about the points situation heading into this week’s match.

“Even if we win, we’re relying on other results going our way.

“Our focus has to be on finishing the competition on a good note, and that’s all we can control.”

King Country 59 (Alex Thrupp 3, Baven Brown 2, Liam Rowlands 2, Carl Carmichael; Evan Reihana 8 con, pen) Poverty Bay 38 (Te Peehi Fairlie 2, Tom Iosefo 2, Tamanui Hill, Willy Grogan tries; Andrew Tauatevalu 4 con).

Poverty Bay still have a chance of making the Lochore Cup semifinals, despite their 59-38 loss to King Country in Taupo on Saturday.

They have one round in rugby’s Heartland Championship before the top-eight playoffs.

To earn a place in the Lochore Cup semifinals for teams placed fifth to eighth, Poverty Bay — currently 10th in the 12-team competition — must beat Buller in Gisborne this Saturday.

Buller caused the upset of the round when they thumped Mid Canterbury 37-19 in Westport at the weekend.

The Bay also need sixth-placed Wairarapa Bush to beat ninth-placed North Otago, and King Country (fourth) to beat Mid Canterbury (seventh).

Those results would put Mana Otai’s team into the playoffs in eighth place.

With West Coast (eighth) tipped to beat Ngati Porou East Coast (12th) to secure their spot, the Bay will be sweating on the outcome of the other two matches.

Against King Country, the Bay failed to fire a shot in the first 40 minutes and were down 31-0 at halftime.

But in a remarkable comeback they scored six tries to earn a bonus point and keep their playoff hopes alive.

“We were slow out of the blocks and King Country were fired up,” Otai said.

“I didn’t need to say much to the boys at halftime. They knew we hadn’t played well. They knew what had to be done, and they did it. We had a much better second half.

“We scored two converted tries straight after the break but we were always behind the eight ball. We scored 38 points in the last 40; King Country scored 28. Our defence wasn’t good.”

One minute after the restart, left wing Te Peehi Fairlie scored the first of his two tries. Fullback Andrew Tauatevalu converted. Seven minutes later, skipper and hooker Tamanui Hill scored. Again, Tauatevalu added the two points.

“We scored some brilliant tries, which is a positive, but defensively we let ourselves down,” Otai said.

He wasn’t too worried about the points situation heading into this week’s match.

“Even if we win, we’re relying on other results going our way.

“Our focus has to be on finishing the competition on a good note, and that’s all we can control.”

King Country 59 (Alex Thrupp 3, Baven Brown 2, Liam Rowlands 2, Carl Carmichael; Evan Reihana 8 con, pen) Poverty Bay 38 (Te Peehi Fairlie 2, Tom Iosefo 2, Tamanui Hill, Willy Grogan tries; Andrew Tauatevalu 4 con).

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