The Hawke’s Bay Magpies took on the Northland Taniwha in the ITM Cup Championship semifinal #1 at McLean Park. Northland drew first blood through a Dan Hawkins penalty. Ihaia West then returned the favour twice to take a narrow lead. About half an hour in, Jone Macilai changed the tone of the game with an excellent try in the corner to put the Taniwha in front. Not to be outdone, the Magpies quickly scored a seven pointer through Richard Buckman. Northland made more attacking runs into the Magpie defense, including a botched a try, but the locals go to the half break 13-8 up. The second half saw Robbie Fruean put into space by a classy pass from Ihaia West, who then converted the extras. Penalties were traded until Dan Pryor scored a five pointer following some slick passing for the Taniwha. Ihaia West then slotted a massive penalty kick from 56 metres to put the lead back out to 26-16. Michael Stolberg scored another Taniwha try to put them within 5 points with four minutes remaining, but Hawkins misses the extras again. Hawke’s Bay brace for more Northland attacks, but the Taniwha is its own worst enemy, conceding penalties & giving away possession. The Magpies are through to their second Championship final in a row with a full time score of 26-21. The Magpies scored two tries via Richard Buckman & Robbie Fruean. Ihaia West kicked two conversions & four penalties. The Magpies now meet the winner of the Manawatu vs Southland semi next week.