29/05/17 | 3:06 PM

Eagles lose thriller in 83rd minute...

Old Boys-University 38 (Sam Reid 2, Hugh Renton, Sam Coventry, Jono Ihaka tries; Dale Sabbagh pen, 5 con) Hutt Old Boys Marist (Blake McGregor, Francis Tanuvasa, Tasi Fidow, LA Moemai, Ope Peleseuma tries; Sheridan Rangihuna pen, 4 con). HT: 14-19.

Best and fairest: 3 points: Jonathon Fuimaono (OBU prop); 2 points: Sheridan Rangihuna (HOBM halfback); 1 point: Dale Sabbagh (OBU first five-eighth).

What happened: The match began in the frantic style that it ended in, with Old Boys-University fullback Jono Ihaka opening the scoring with a great 45-metre try.

Hutt Old Boys Marist replied through wing Francis Tanuvasa, who was the beneficiary of fellow wing Blake McGregor’s brilliant set-up, though an OBU lineout drive pushed them over the HOBM tryline and into a nine-point advantage.

However, two tries late in the first half by the hosts propelled them to a 19-14 halftime lead.

OBU came into the second half firing and wing Sam Reid picked up two quick tries: the first thanks to a loose HOBM pass and the second courtesy of a delightful Sam Coventry offload.

Reid’s brace earned OBU a 28-19 lead before a brilliant individual try to replacement wing LA Moemai got HOBM’s second half account underway.

A long-range try to Coventry put OBU back up by nine points but Hutt made quick work of removing that deficit with a try to Ope Peleseuma and penalty goal put them in front with just minutes to play.

OBU first five-eighth Dale Sabbagh had the opportunity to win the game with three minutes remaining with a 45-metre penalty. That fell short, but Hutt failed to clear the ball effectively, finding touch just 15 metres from their line.

From there, OBU earned a lineout penalty and this time Sabbagh made no mistake in winning the game.

The big play: During the opening score of the match, where Ihaka blitzed the HOBM chase, a scuffle broke out between both forward packs.

Referee Richard Gordon appeared to have his attention focused on the encounter in front of him, rather than on Ihaka, and consulted with one of his assistants before awarding Ihaka the try, much to the disapproval of the Hutt supporters.

Who stood out: With both sides resorting to tight play, after an expansive opening to the match, Jonathon Fuimaono shone. His work in the scrum was formidable and he frequently popped up with effective carries and tackles. Sabbagh also had impressive moments, while Ihaka further proved that he is one of the deadliest players in the competition if given space.

Sheridan Rangihuna caught OBU off-guard several times across the match, with his quick thinking and played his part in several of Hutt’s tries. Hooker Ben Power threw well and had some effective carries, as did his front row partner Joe Apikotoa.

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