Kenya international Willy Ambaka started at left wing as his Manawatu Turbos side gave away a halftime lead to fall 36-31 to Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand’s Mitre 10 cup on Sunday 15 October 2017.
Heading to Sunday’s duel, the Turbos were in much need of a win in order to secure a playoff spot and they were quick off the blocks as they took a 17-0 lead to the dressing room courtesy of touchdowns by Lewis Marshall and Tim Cadwallader.
Both sides were dealt blows late in the first half as Nathan Tudreu and Tony Lamborn were shown red cards after being involved in a fight.
Hawke’s Bay mounted a strong comeback in the second period managing 36 points courtesy of Mason Emerson’s double, Gareth Evans, Brad Webber, Richard Buckman, Jonah Lowe with Ihaia West slotting in 3 conversions.
A late surge by the Turbos which saw them land two tries through Jade Te Rure and Jason Emery was not enough as Hawke’s Bay held on to claim a 36-31 win.
The loss means that Ambaka’s side have finished 5th in the Championship Division with 23 points, 2 off the playoff positions.