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Fruean hat-trick sinks North Harbour

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Friday, August 13, 2010    Sportal.co.nz    Getty Images

It was a commanding display by the home team which had struggled to put together the sort of performances synonomous with the brand earlier in the series.

The midfield dominance, and an ability to dominate the turnover areas proved the difference with second five-eighths Stephen Brett and Fruean enjoying the wealth of possession their forwards produced.

Unfortunately for North Harbour its early concession of points forced it into a more risky catch-up style of play and Canterbury feasted on what mistakes did occur.

Canterbury enjoyed more than two-thirds of possession in the first half and while committing some errors it held its head to make the most of chances when they came.

Canterbury first five-eighths Colin Slade opened with an early penalty goal while North Harbour first five-eighths Michael Harris landed a penalty goal in reply. Then in a turnover from a mis-directed Harris mid-field kick Canterbury ran the ball back at North Harbour.

But the move broke down on the flank and a kick and chase from North Harbour resulted in Harris following up after wing Josh York had chased hard and was able to take a pass from the tackled No.8 Richard Mayhew to score and convert.

Canterbury was unfazed and struck back immediately in the 12th minute when it won the re-start through lock Isaac Ross and the ball was moved quickly through with Brett firing a long pass which created space for right wing Sam Monaghan who scored.

Poor control after some kicking inter-changes saw flanker Matt Todd take advantage of bobbling ball to score and Slade worked with fullback Sean Maitland to create the chance which saw Canterbury reclaim the lead in the 23rd minute.

Play ranged to and fro in long periods of possession for both sides before finally, Brett held the ball long enough to create space which allowed centre Robbie Fruean to score for Slade to add a conversion as Canterbury went out to a 22-10 lead.

Seven minutes into the second half left wing Telusa Veainu was able to polish off some fine work as No.8 Ash Parker and Ross combined with some clever use of the ball by way of feint, with Ross adding some pace in the thrust, to give Veainu a clean run to the line.

In the 65th minute, as North Harbour rang the changes in an effort to reduce the gap, it turned over ball near halfway and it was replacement loose forward Nasi Manu and substitute halfback Andy Ellis who found Fruean storming down the outside to race away for his second try.

Two minutes later North Harbour had some reward after second five-eighths Luke McAlister started to find more holes in the Canterbury line and on a second occasion he got through and fed a short pass to centre Jack Tarrant who scored for Botica to add the conversion.

Moments later Botica was in the action again after splicing the defences and racing nearly 70m in a weaving run only to be done when stepping out as he was tackled right on the line.

Taking a tap penalty in the Canterbury 22m area in the 74th minute, North Harbour drove off flanker Matt Leamanu's drive to the line to create space on the blindside which allowed York to score.

Scorers:

Canterbury 44 (Sam Monaghan, Matt Todd, Robbie Fruean 3, Telusa Veainu, Isaac Ross tries; Colin Slade 3 con, pen) North Harbour 22 (Mike Harris, Jack Tarrant, Josh York tries, con, pen). HT: 22-10