Steelers win Ranfurly Shield
In a historic moment in Counties Manukau rugby, the Tana Umaga coached Steelers have become Ranfurly Shield holders for the very first time in their proud 58 year history.
The Steelers left it late but two late tries allowed the visitors to lift the famous log of wood over the Hawke’s Bay Magpies 27-24 in front of a packed McLean Park crowd in Napier.
A full strength Counties side brushed aside the narrow loss to Auckland mid week as they displayed a courageous effort and create history.
After a long opening sequence both teams showed glimpses of brilliance in attack as the visiting Steelers earned the game’s first points through first five Baden Kerr.
Counties were then forced to defend for a brief period and were rewarded down the other end when halfback August Pulu latched onto a kick and linked up with Sherwin Stowers.
The classy fullback showed his pace and skill to get around the attempted tackle of Ihaia West to dive over in the corner to silence the home crowd.
It didn’t take long for the hosts to hit back as the Hawke’s Bay fullback Gillies Kaka scampered down the touch line from a turnover from the breakdown before offloading to wing Telusa Veainu.
In the end Veainu provided the final pass to Kaka to go in for the try and was later confirmed by the TMO as Hawke’s Bay narrowed Counties early margin.
However, both goal kickers would continue to trade penalties as the Magpies went into halftime with a slim 16-14 lead.
The livewire Stowers was continuing to cause the Magpies defence trouble weaving in and out on attack and eventually won a penalty for Kerr to slot and retake the lead in the second half.