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Stingrays off to commanding start

Pirtek NZRL National Premiership - Stingrays off to commanding start

After a belated start to the 2014 Pirtek NZRL National Premiership, Counties Manukau Stingrays showed they will again be a force, with a season-opening 46-6 romp over Northern Swords in Whangarei.

The South Aucklanders went unbeaten through last regular season, only to stumble against Akarana Falcons in the title game.

While everyone else kicked off their campaigns last week, the Stingrays sat idle with the first-up bye, but rocketed from the starting blocks for a 28-0 halftime advantage against their northern rivals.

Eight different players eventually crossed for tries, with only second row Eko Malu able to double up.

Teenage five-eighth Daniel Fulop provided the hosts' only response, with a second-half try.

Meanwhile, Canterbury Bulls are the only team with two wins from the first two rounds, overpowering Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions 38-20 on the road in Huntly.

The guests were quickly on top with three converted tries in the opening half, but the Stallions stayed in contention, when the halftime hooter malfunctioned and the home side scored on an extra tackle.

But there was no switch in momentum and the Bulls scored the next three tries to put their rivals away.

Bulls front rowers Manu Weepu and Chris Bamford had two tries apiece, while winger Isaac Robinson matched that feat for the Stallions.

Defending champions Akarana enjoyed the bye and could be back to full strength next week, with the Fox Memorial club final played yesterday.


Sunday, August 31

Toll Stadium, Whangarei

Counties Manukau Stingrays 46 (Eko Malu 2, George Edwards, Ray Taimale, Atelea Nafetalai, Zebastian Luisi, Paul Tapaevalu, Pakisonasi Afu & Sione Feao tries; Taimale 4 & Paulos Latu goals)Northern Swords 6 (Daniel Fulop try; Joel Freeman goal); HT: 28-0

Swords: 1-Tumoana Halkyard, 2-Sharif Mangu, 3-Israel Tahere, 4-Moses Cooper, 5-Rikki Tarau, 6-Daniel Fulop, 7-Sam Henry, 8-Chris Apoua, 9-Joel Freeman (capt), 10-Jordan Hool, 17-Alex Salase, 12-Patrick Tane, 18-Te Tuhi Tipene, 14-Adam Donaldson, 15-Elliot Pomare, 16-A Lennox, 17-K Harding

Stingrays: 1-George Edwards, 2-Raymond Taimale, 3-Atelea Nafetalai, 4-Paulos Latu, 5-Filipine Jacob Aki, 6-Zebastian Luisi, 7-Carlos Hotene, 8-Palu Tapaevalu, 9-Jethro Friend, 10-Pakisonasi Afu, 11-Dion Snell, 12-Sione Feao, 13-Jamal Hunt, 14-Eko Malu, 15-J Price, 16-L Feagaiga, 17-T Aoake

Referee - Eric Kneepkens Touch - Tane Kaiwai & Grant Wharehuka

Davies Park, Huntly

Canterbury Bulls 38 (Manu Weepu 2, Chris Bamford 2, Ken Tofilau, Toi Sepulani & Corey Lawrie tries; Darren Tonihi 4 & Cyrus Tomo Latu goals) Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions 20 (Isaac Robinson 2, Caleb Heke & Mounga Molisi tries; Hayden Karena 2 goals); HT: 18-10

Stallions: 1-Caleb Heke, 2-Mounga Molisi, 3-Hamiora Mihaka, 4-John Koko, 5-Isaac Robinson, 6-Johnson Peri, 7-Hayden Karena (capt), 8-Hone Love-Henry, 9-Raureti Grace, 10-Callin Tereu, 11-Terry Kopua, 14-Cody King, 12-Jason Whareaitu, 17-Riki Collier, 16-Mosese Mafi, 15-Tupare Tupare, 13-Marrin Haggie

Bulls: 1-Ken Tofilau, 2-Will Tafua, 3-Erwin Sauni, 4-Vinnie Paul, 5-Jade Hoy, 6-Toi Sepuloni, 7-Darren Tonihi, 8-Paul Sauni, 9-Maun Weepu, 10-Chris Bamford, 11-JJ Smith, 12-Corey Lawrie, 13-Agaese Fiso, 14-Alani Kakoi, 15-Kyle Leka, 16-Paradise Mann, 17-Cyrus Timo Latu

Referee - Tony Arnel Touch - Tai Hepi & Gina TeRongomau


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