• Magpies run riot in winger's farewell

Magpies run riot in winger's farewell

France-bound Hawke's Bay rugby winger Mason Emerson got a superb send off as the Magpies retained the Ranfurly Shield with an 85-0 drubbing of North Otago at Napier's McLean Park tonight.

While speedster Emerson (pictured above, Photography Corena), who has scored a two-year contract with French division two club Valence Romans, didn't score any of the Magpies 13 tries he was still lively on attack and accurate on defence. As the score suggests the Magpies displayed the massive gulf between a Premiership team and the Meads Cup holders who didn't play any rugby last year because the Heartland Championship was cancelled in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The match highlighted the tremendous depth the Magpies have and will need in their quest to maintain Premiership status. Six players made their first-class debuts for the Magpies.

Second five-eighth Kienan Higgins, centre Dennon Robinson-Bartlett, lock Elijah Martin and flanker Josh Gimblett were in the starting XV. Flanker Frank Lochore and former Manawatu Turbos hooker Gene Syminton got game time off the subs bench.

It was appropriate Lochore and starting openside flanker Will Tremain should play in the Magpies first Ranfurly Shield defence of the season. The pair are grandsons of All Black legends, the late Kel Tremain and Sir Brian Lochore.

Magpies captain on the night, lock Tom Parsons, had every right to be proud of the hosts performance.

"The boys did well and stuck to some good structures," Parsons said afterwards.

He was particularly impressed with the Magpies set piece play and "up and in your face" defensive work which put the visitors under preessure.

While the Magpies host Ngati Porou East Coast in their next Shield defence on July 24 Parsons pointed out the Magpies are eager to have a crack at the Premiership after winning the Championship last year.

North Otago captain and hooker Sam Sturgess agreed it was a tough night for the visitors.

"It was pretty gutting. Every time we made an error it cost us. But there was some encouraging stuff for our Meads Cup campaign," Sturgess said.

All of his troops emptied the tank for the cause. Big props Kelepi Funaki and Melikisua Kolinisau were powerful on the carry.

Loosies Toni Taufa and Mosese Aho had huge work rates. First five-eighth Ben McCarthy had plenty of gas.   

Heartstopper: North Otago fullback Mataroa Maui's 27th minute tackle on Magpies flanker Will Tremain. It was a massive hit which is likely to be replayed for years to come.
Turning point: When the Magpies were awarded a penalty try in the ninth minute to take a 14-0 lead. North Otago lock Manulua Taiti was sinbinned. The gap between a Heartland side and a Premiership outfit was already exposed and it was obvious this was going to be a one-way traffic affair.
Player of the match: Magpies first five-eighth Lincoln McClutchie. Nine conversion from 11 attempts at goal in a tricky wind, superb passing variation
and clever tactical kicking.
Hawke's Bay Magpies 85 (Jason Long 2, Lolagi Visinia 2, Josh Kaifa 2, Tom Parsons, Kienan Higgins, Jacon Devery, Anzelo Tuitavuki, Danny Toala, Namatahi Waa, penalty try tries; Lincoln McClutchie 9 cons), North Otago 0. HT: 42-0.