Hawke's Bay have scored a miracle last-gasp try to beat Bay of Plenty 42-41 in a thrilling ITM Cup contest in Napier tonight.
The home side, who are bottom of the Premiership table, looked dead and buried when they were behind by six points, but replacement firecracker Ihaia West pulled a rabbit out of the hat as he streaked over 50 metres to score the match-winner deep into injury time.
In a helter-skelter contest that saw 11 tries scored, Hawke's Bay winger Gilles Kaka became the first Magpie player to score a hat-trick, the first of which could be a candidate for try of the season.
All Black Sam Cane, who was one of the standout players of the match, got the ball rolling for Bay of Plenty when he powered over from close range after just 10 minutes.
Kaka replied, with amazing football skills that Lionel Messi would be proud of, to take the lead to 11-10 for the home side after 25 minutes.
Bay of Plenty, who dominated the breakdown in the first half with Cane and Tanerau Latimer in the thick of it, responded with two quick tries to Nick McCashin and Maru Henry and at 24-11, they looked well in control.
But nothing was predictable in this contest and that included the refereeing of Mike Fraser. With halftime beckoning, he controversially awarded a penalty try for Laitmer illegally pulling down a rolling maul that was destined for the tryline and then sent the Bay of Plenty skipper to the sin-bin to boot.
With 15 playing 14, Hawke's Bay couldn't take advantage as the Steamers outscored them 14-5 in the10 minutes without Latimer.
Masaga scored practically from the restart before Kaka scored his second. Bay of Plenty then seemingly got into the driver's seat through a brilliant off-load from Kendrick Lynn that sent Lance McDonald under the posts for a 38-23 lead.
But with the threat of relegation looming, Hawke's Bay were not done. Far from it. Flanker Tevita Fomai pounced on a loose ball from a five metre scrum to score before Kaka completed his hat-trick after a huge break from Andrew Horrell.
That incredible period of play that unfolded after the break garnered no defence and five tries in 19 minutes.
Chris Noakes steadied the ship with a penalty to give Bay of Plenty a 41-35 lead with eight minutes to go before West broke Steamers' hearts with a try that will be long remembered in folklore.
Bay of Plenty and Hawke's Bay are both now on nine points on the Premiership table and both will attempt to climb out of the relegation zone when they next play Wellington and Otago respectively.
Hawke's Bay 42 (G. Kaka 3, T. Fomai, I. West
tries, penalty try; D. Waenga 2 pen, con, I. West 2 con)
Bay of Plenty 41 (S. Cane, N. McCashin, M. Henry, L. Masaga, P. Burleigh tries; N. McCashin 5 con, pen, C. Noakes pen)
Halftime: Bay of Plenty 24 - 18.