Defensive record tested in win over Wainui

MSP showed a lot of character to battle back from a 16-3 deficit and collect the silverware with a 21-16 win over Wainui on 19 May (see video highlights below). The side has conceded the least points in the Swindale Shield and this defensive record was sorely tested by an enterprising Wainui outfit.

Playing into a biting cold southerly at William Jones Park, MSP had the better of the early stages but Wainui, after landing a penalty 12 minutes in, dominated territory for the rest of the half . They scored a fine try after being allowed to run, and were held up under the posts when a second try looked certain. Andrew Wells, who had an excellent game at fullback, landed a penalty in the absence of injured Fa'atonu Fili, to make the halftime score 11-3 to the home side.

Strong running and good handling gave Wainui the first try after the break to stretch their lead to 16-3. Although MSP had the wind at their backs, their cause wasn't helped when No 6 Lua Lokotui, who was having a powerful game, was yellow carded for a shoulder charge. It was MSP's second card, captain Arden David having spent 10 minutes in the bin for ruck infringements in the first half.

Livewire halfback Peter Sciascia got MSP back into the match when took a tap from a freekick 20 metres out and darted through the Wainui forward pack to score handy to the posts. Ten minutes later, with MSP now camped in Wainui's half, No 8 Tevita Ah Wong powered through from a five-metre scrum.

MSP hit the lead for the first time in the 35th minute. A penalty advantage had already been signalled when Peter Sciascia snapped a drop goal from a ruck almost tucked beneath the Wainui posts.

In the 41st minute, Andrew Wells landed another penalty to make it 21-16. The referee however decided there was still plenty of time to play.  Wainui were awarded at least five consecutive penalties and MSP were marched back several times in a nerve-wracking closing spell before the final whistle went with 45 minutes and 30 seconds showing on Wainui's electronic scoreboard.

MSP collected the Bill Brien Challenge Cup and reclaimed the Rona-Morrissey Cup and now lie two points behind leaders HOB Marist on the Swindale Shield table. Second-five Isaia Petelo was adjudged MSP's player of the day.

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