Rugby: Captain Ash Dixon proud of Hawke‘s Bay Magpies‘ character

Match highlights

Heartstopper:

When Stags No 8 and former Magpie Tony Lamborn lost the ball after a powerful carry in the 34th minute. The impact from the Magpies defenders was huge and Lamborn‘s Havelock North clubmate Gareth Evans had plenty to do with the dislodgement.

Turning point:

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When Magpies pivot Tiaan Falcon kicked a 67th minute penalty to end the scoring. The Stags were never going to recover from that deficit.

Player of the match:

Magpies captain and hooker Ash Dixon. Two tries and led by example during 63 minutes of action. Plenty of composure particularly when two of his troops were in the sin bin.

Scorers:

Hawke‘s Bay Magpies 31

(Ash Dixon 2, Mark Braidwood, Josh Kaifa, tries; Tiaan Falcon 4 cons, pen),

Southland Stags 10

(Isaac Te Tamaki try; James Wilson con, pen ).

HT:

21-10.

Hawke‘s Bay Magpies rugby captain Ash Dixon had every right to be proud of his troops after last night‘s Mitre 10 Cup Championship opener in Invercargill.

“There was some really good intent there. To defend like we did when were down to 13 men … the boys showed a bit of character. I‘m more proud of that than anything else,” Dixon said referring to the fact he also captured the player-of-the-match award after the Magpies 31-10 win against the Southland Stags.

Lock Michael Allardice and No 8 Gareth Evans were both sin binned for breakdown infringements in the second half. The visitors didn‘t concede any points during this period.

Dixon agreed the Magpies‘ discipline issues can be fixed before they take on Otago in Dunedin on Friday night.

“We missed a lot of detail around the breakdown area and we can fix that this week. In terms of effort I‘m really proud of the boys.”

He was impressed with the Magpies‘ four tries which were scored off lineout drives.

“We placed a lot of emphasis on that aspect of play during the week and it paid off.”

“Last year [when the Magpies scored just two wins] still plays on a lot of our minds and to come down here and get a win against a tough Southland side makes me very proud,” Dixon added.

First five-eighth Tiaan Falcon and openside flanker Josh Kaifa were close behind Dixon in the battle for player-of-the-match honours.

Falcon defended the inside channel well, produced big clearance kicks when the visitors were under pressure and succeeded with all five of his attempts at goal.

Kaifa had a huge defensive workrate and secured some vital turnovers. None of the Magpies would be disappointed with their contributions.

Substitute second five-eighth Pasqualle Dunn provided some quality impact off the pine for a side which had 10 players on debut.

Magpies head coach Mark Ozich said halfback Brad Weber was the only major injury concern with a high ankle sprain and the full extent of the injury wouldn‘t be known until later today.

Former Magpies No 8 Tony Lamborn made plenty of carries for the Stags but was guilty of losing the ball in on several occasions. Fullback Tauasosi Tuimavave was the Stags most lethal attacker but didn‘t get as many opportunities as the hosts would have liked.

“We wanted a better result and were pretty disappointed with the outcome. We couldn‘t break down their defence when they were down to 13 players,” Stags co-captain and first five-eighth James Wilson lamented afterwards.

The Magpies opened the scoring in the 12th minute when prop Mark Braidwood scored from a lineout drive. Falcon slotted the conversion from wide out.

The Magpies pack had 24kg more than the Stags engine room and it showed. So it wasn‘t a surprise when the visitors opted for another lineout drive when they were awarded a penalty in the 20th minute.

It was the right decision as Kaifa celebrated his debut with a try. Falcon was again on target with the conversion and the Magpies led 14-0.

The Stags opened their account in the 23rd minute when winger Isaac Te Tamaki scored. Wilson converted.

Wilson narrowed the gap with a 30th minute penalty.

Dixon extended the Magpies lead with a 39th minute try. Falcon added the conversion to give the visitors a 21-10 halftime lead.

Canterbury referee Jamie Nutbrown awarded the penalty when a Stags defender failed to release in a tackle situation.

The Magpies had the bonus point for four tries when Dixon scored his second try in the 47th minute following another lineout drive. Falcon maintained his 100 per cent success rate.

Falcon had the final say with a 67th minute penalty.

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