The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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A last minute try by centre Matthew Pert has given Howick a well deserved win in the Sharman Cup final, 20-16, over Bay Roskill.
It was all Howick in the first half of the intense final at Ericsson Stadium. The Hornets went to the break with a 14-0 lead after tries to Pert and hooker Matt Hamilton.
The last try of the half came from some beautiful interplay which saw a cut and inside ball which picked up Hamilton to score next to the post.
Just minutes into the second half, Roskill applied the pressure and got the result they needed.
A rushed Howick defensive line allowed stand-off and most valuable for the Vikings Poasu Faiagaa to coast through a hole and score untouched. The kick was unconverted, leaving the score at 14-4.
It was the Vikings who then went on the counter for a number of sets, with Howick having to work overtime in defense. There was nobody better than Hornets second rower Kurt Umbers, who whilst smaller in stature than most, bought down every player in sight.
Umbers must have made at least 35 tackles and was extremely effective for the Hornets.
Constant pressure finally took its toll with big prop Willie Rogoyawa burrowing over from one meter out for the Vikings. The try was converted by half Kevin Wi and the margin was narrowed to four points.
The game appeared to be all but over for Roskill, until stand-off Faiagaa scored a try under the post with just three minutes remaining on the clock. The try was converted and with the score at 16-14, Roskill had it in the bag.
However quick thinking from the kick-off gave Howick possession and another shot at the championship.
After a few plays back and fourth, the Hornets took it to the line, offering an impressive inside ball to two try hero Pert, who crashed over under the post.
Hamilton converted to add to his other two goals and the Hornets held on to take the Sharman Cup.