Trifecta of wins over Poneke on ANZAC Day

A stirring finish by the premiers delivered a 20-8 ANZAC Day win over Poneke to complete the trifecta over MSP's Kilbirnie neighbours (see video highlights below).

On a fine but windy Wednesday afternoon, the senior 1s won 13-5 and the senior 2s got home 29-28 for their first win of the season.

In the main game, strong defence by both sides was a feature of the match. MSP made all the play in the first 30 minutes but had only a Fa'atonu Fili penalty to show for it. Poneke equalised with a penalty late in the half and, just before halftime, they snaffled a blindside try while prop Kas Lealamanua was in the sinbin.

Down 8-3 at the break, MSP again dominated for the first 20 minutes but a combination of their own mistakes plus some tough refereeing was starting to make it look like it wouldn't be the home team's afternoon.

Halfback Nick Wanden, who's enjoying a good run of form, sparked the turnaround when he broke from his own 22 and forced a scrum five metres from the Poneke line. From another Wanden dab, flanker and stand-in captain Sio Tuia was unstoppable as he burst through for the try. Fa'atonu Fili put the conversion right down the middle and it was 10-8 MSP.

Five minutes from time, he landed another penalty. Then, from a short Wanden pass, no 6 Ben Nansett bolted through and steamrolled the Poneke fullback to reach out and score, the Fa'atonu conversion putting the game well and truly out of the visitors' reach.

Although a scrappy affair, the win was meritorious for several reasons, not least the fact that MSP retained the Mick Horan - Ken Millar Trophy. In addition, MSP had four top-flight front rowers sitting on the sidelines. Arden David, Liu Taituave, Solomona Sakalia and Donald Brighouse couldn't play either because of injury or WRFU rulings.

Ben Nansett was adjudged the player-of-the-day, Corey Lawrence collected the T-shirt for the senior 1s, and Tom Minnee was the senior 2s player-of-the-day. 

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