Taranaki too good for Taniwha
The Amber and Blacks have moved to the top of the ITM Cup Premiership table (provisionally), after their 31-20 victory over Northland in Whangarei.
ITM Cup Full Time: Northland 20 Taranaki 31 #ITMCup #NORvTAR pic.twitter.com/pYHXlRA27m— ITM Cup (@ITMCup) September 18, 2014
It was an impressive performance from the tourists who dominated possession and territory, and Waisake Naholo added the icing on the cake with a bonus point try in the 77th minute.
However Northland, who scored two tries, were only four points behind at halftime, and defensively shut out Taranaki for long periods considering how long the visitors were in the Taniwha’s 22.
Marty McKenzie opened the scoring with a penalty, before centre Brook Gilmore, who benefitted from a Daniel Hawkins break, crossed in the 17th minute to record the match’s first try.
Taranaki continue to pound the Northland defence, and still the hosts hold out the Amber and Black attack #ITMCup #NORvTAR 7-6— AllBlacksLiveScoring (@ABslivescore) September 18, 2014
McKenzie would add another penalty, having a fine game from the kicking tee, before centre Seta Tamanivalu scored a powerful try, despite looking like he might have fumbled.
He was just too powerful, and the 11-7 score line remained up until the end of the opening half.
Hawkins and Rei traded penalties in the second half, but tries to McKenzie, Blade Thomson and Naholo were eventually just reward for Taranaki’s dominance.
A late try to Jone Macilai-Tori gave the Taniwha a chance to push for a losing bonus point, but the Amber and Blacks were too strong.
The hosts could find their position in the top four become tenuous at the conclusion of the current round.
Try bonus point!!! 31-20 that's the game, great game, player of the day Mitch Crosswell. Excellent game!!— Taranaki Rugby (@TaranakiRugby) September 18, 2014
A Canterbury loss will give the Amber and Blacks top spot in the Premiership as the full time whistle sounds for the round.
Taranaki host Auckland in week seven, while Northland play Bay of Plenty at Mount Maunganui.
Tries: Tamanivalu, McKenize, Thomson, Naholo
Pens: McKenzie (2), Rei
Tries: Gilmore, Macilai
Cons: Hawkins (2)
Pens: Hawkins (2)