March 19 2022
Counties Manukau Stingrays tie 26- 26 with Akarana Falcons in round 2 of the NZRL National 20s competition at Auckland Trusts Stadium.
Counties opened the scoring with a try from Maddison Tekeu on the 2min mark. Followed by another try from Pesalili Ma, who was able to find space up the right edge and, with a ton of pace, sprinted from one end of the field to the other to put Counties in front with a two-score lead.
Akarana hit back with a superb play spreading the ball left to right through Joshua Tanielu’s offload pass to teammate Sebastian Hindt to put Akarana on the board.
Counties gained back their momentum as they steamrolled down the field before Teariki Ford chipped the ball into space, beautifully bounced for him to catch and score under the post. Akaranas wing, Tuipala Faaee, found himself in trouble, diving in with his legs after Ford had grounded the ball resulting in a yellow card and an 8 point try for Counties.
With 3 mins to go for the first half, Akarana were desperate for more points before heading into the sheds. Benefiting from two errors from Counties, Akarana saw Ratima emerge from the scrum up the right edge to secure them four more points before the whistle. Counties Manukau Stingrays led Akarana Falcons 20-8 at halftime.
Counites momentum continued into the first few minutes of the second half as Ford grubbers into open space, closely followed by Samuel Hansen to catch and score.
With the score margin increasing, Akarana continued aggressiveness, leading to 3 back-to-back tries. Captin Doux Fiatau-Kauhiva busted through the solid Counties defence to score their first points of the half. Minutes later, Akarana capitalised again, scoring another through Kenneth-Seth Henery-Taua, who quickly went over the line untouched to close the point gap slightly.
With 5mins left, the Counties defence fought hard to hold their ground, but Akarana were too aggressive and saw prop Paaua Papuni-Abbott with an extraordinary run to close the score gap.
After a tough back and forth contest in the last 2mins of the game, the final hooter sounded 26-26.
Counties Manukau Stingrays – 26
Maddison Tekeu, Pesalili Ma, Teariki Ford, Samuel Hansen
Teariki Ford (4/4)
Akarana Falcons – 26
Sebastian Hindt, Ratima, Doux Fiatau-Kauhiva, Kenneth-Seth Henery-Taua, Paaua Papuni-Abbott
Tuipala Faaee (3/5)