In the opening round of the 2023 National 20s Competition, the Counties Manukau Stingrays met the Wellington Orcas in Wellington at Wise Park. Counties came into the match as strong favourites and proved their dominance over the Orcas with a 4-38 win to kick off their campaign.

After ten minutes of back and forth, Counties Manukau put the first points on the board with a try in the corner by Caleb Meleisea. Counties Manukau number 8 Stanley Hingano crashed over the line ten minutes later to extend the visitor’s lead. Counties Manukau’s Toaiti Ramsay had an excellent line break to set up another try from teammate Jeremiah Tamatimu. Twenty-five minutes into the match Counties Manukau’s Meleisea scored his second try to close out the first half.

As the first half continued, Counties Manukau’s ruck speed was too much for the Orcas with an opening try from Niu-Alinghi Peni. The Wellington Orcas finally found their opportunity to score halfway through the second half of the match through number 14 Junior Telea. Counties Manukau’s ball retention continued to dominate as tries rolled in by Malachi Tony, Jeroyme Pritchard, and Ramsay.

Counties Manukau came away with their first win of the season over the Wellington Orcas 4-38. The action continues next week as Counties take on Bay of Plenty and the Orcas come up against the South Island Scorpions in Christchurch.