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Two memorable days here for under-16 Hawke's Bay guests of East Coast rugby

The Hawke’s Bay under-16 development team had two days they’ll never forget as guests of East Coast rugby.

The Maurice Kururangi-coached Coast ran neck-and-neck with the visitors to halftime — 12-10 to Hawke’s Bay — in the Division B Saracens Cup clash at George Nepia Memorial Park at Rangitukia.

Hawke’s Bay ran out 36-10 victors in the Hurricanes Youth Rugby Council fixture after 70 minutes of juicy rugby under referee Isaac Hughes.

East Coast opened the scoring with an out-of-this-world, individual try to left wing Hennessy Campbell three minutes into the game. He made a curling 60-metre run from sideline to sideline, and stayed just inside the right touchline to score.

Hawke’s Bay imposed themselves through tries to big lock Bryce Wind and workaholic hooker Jonty Roil before the break. Wind’s try, just to the left of the posts, was converted by his captain and locking partner Tiaki Flutey for 7-5 to Hawke’s Bay.

The Coast were resourceful throughout, Tumatauenga Kururangi covering for his brother Tangaroa at first five-eighth early in the game. Coast lock Paora Herlihy followed up on halfback Te Aowera Para’s goal-line surge to score the last try of the first half, after Sky Blue giants Keaton McIlroy (loosehead prop) and Vinnie Te Maipi (hooker) had made big inroads on the left side of the ground.

Para and Herlihy were two of the home team’s best on the day.

In the second half, blindside flanker Jack Irvine, reserve blindside flanker Troy Thomas, second-five Yuri Dempsey and reserve fullback Rynan Dittmer-Emery scored tries, with reserve first-five Luke Thomas kicking two conversions.

Hawke’s Bay stayed at Hinepare Marae, some 200m from the ground.

“Our boys loved the trip and it was a great bonding experience,” head coach Laurent Simutoga said.

“In that first half, we found it difficult to match their flair and their big boys hit us hard up front. Their centre Cyprus Newey-Schumann has some real skill in distributing the ball and made some try-saving tackles as well.”

Simutoga complimented Tokomaru Bay native and Poverty Bay referee Hughes on the great tone he set for the match and willingness to facilitate rugby.

Hawke’s Bay chose Newey-Schumann as the opposition MVP (most valuable player) with the Bay’s Dempsey picking up that award from the hosts.

Hawke’s Bay right wing Hopa Keelan, who has strong family ties to The Coast, was focused and fearless on his return to home soil with both sides being well led on the field by Flutey and No.8 Maui Kururangi for the Sky Blues.

Coast head coach Maurice Kururangi has seen his promising team grow in the last month.

“I was really proud of our boys, and grateful to Hurricanes recruitment and development manager Darren Larby, for showing them and me a lot of new stuff in the lead-up to this game against Hawke’s Bay,” Kururangi said.

“He helped me to reach another coaching level of understanding in the short but great quality time we had with him.

“Our boys played the structures that we’d outlined and showed a lot of fight. These guys are fizzing for this game against Whanganui.”

The East Coast under-16s play their last game of the season against Whanganui at Central Park — as guests of the Central Hawke’s Bay Rugby Club — in Waipukurau, under Kaleb Rowlands (Wairarapa-Bush) at 11.30am tomorrow.