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Hawke's Bay defend Ranfurly Shield easily

Hawke's Bay rugby Ranfurly Shield
Hawke's Bay had nine different tryscorers in the victory over King Country. PHOTO: HAWKE'S BAY RUGBY

Hawke's Bay have started their 2024 season and new Ranfurly Shield era with a successful defence.


On a wet track at Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park in Hastings on Wednesday afternoon, the Magpies ran in nine tries as they retained the Log o' Wood, beating Heartland Championship side King Country 57-7.


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With five debutants in the starting lineup and the entire eight-man bench set to make their first appearances in the black and white hoops, Hawke's Bay started strong.


Loose forward Josh Kaifa and first-five Jonty Stewart went over in the first 10 minutes, with Stewart converting both for a 14-0 lead. As the rain came down, left wing Anzelo Tuitavuki and prop Tim Farrell scored for a 26-0 halftime lead.


The second half opened in similar fashion, with No 8 Semi Vodosese and flanker Josh Gimblett dotting down in the first five minutes after the break, before the Rams got their only try through Kaleb Foote in the 51st minute.


Halfback Sam Wye, lock Hunter Morrison and right wing Kere Penitito helped bring up the half-century for Hawke's Bay, with second-five Meni Manase matching Stewart's three conversions in the second half.


The Magpies will defend the Shield again on Saturday, July 27 (kick-off 3pm) against another Heartland province, Whangaui, at Napier's McLean Park. They were originally scheduled to face Meads Cup champions South Canterbury but the Aoraki withdrew due to financial constraints.


Hawke’s Bay 57 (Josh Kaifa, Jonty Stewart, Anzelo Tuitavaki, Tim Farrell, Semi Vodosese, Josh Gimblett, Sam Wye, Hunter Morrison, Kere Penitito tries; Jonty Stewart 3 con, Meni Manase 3 con) King Country 7 (Kaleb Foote try; Patrick Hedley con). HT: 26-0.

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