Bay of Plenty rampant against Lions

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Sunday, July 31, 2011    Getty Images

Fullback Toby Arnold scored the home side's fourth and bonus-point try in the 79th minute in a dazzling 100m movement, which featured a 60m burst from replacement hooker Dan Perrin.

The Steamers fourth consecutive win took them to 19 points in the Premiership, well clear of second-placed Taranaki on 14, while Wellington dropped from second to equal-fourth after the match.

While Arnold's try was the icing on the cake for Bay of Plenty, guaranteeing their biggest ever margin over the team from the Capital, the win was already well assured, built on a first-half blitz where they led 22-0 after just half an hour.

Wellington fired few shots and their lineout work was poor. Aggressive Steamers defence kept their attack well in check and their few incursions into the opposition 22 well easily snuffed out.

Steamers captain Colin Bourke said the key to their fast start was the depth in their squad.

"We've been really lucky with no injuries so far and at the moment we can call on our whole squad - that's going to be really important as the competition progresses," Bourke said.

Bay of Plenty's intentions were clear from the start on a stunning afternoon in the seaside town, with impressive lock Culum Retallick soaring to take the first kick-off, making a break and setting his side firmly on attack.

They spent the next 4mins attacking the Wellington line before halfback Taniela Moa burst through the midfield to score under the posts.

First-five Chris Noakes converted, then knocked over a 45m penalty after 18mins to make in 10-0.

Bourke sparked the next try when he stripped young Wellington halfback TJ Perenara of the ball and Moa made two sharp breaks, the second of which sent hooker John Pareanga over.

Noakes converted again and suddenly Bay of Plenty were 17-0 ahead. Five
minutes later, centre Phil Burleigh extended it even further when he crossed in the corner, after strong work from the Bay forwards.

Noakes couldn't add the extras but the home side went into the break 22-0 ahead and seemingly in control.

It was seven minutes into the second half before the visitors even got within sight of the Bay line, when fullback Jason Woodward cut through and fed replacement halfback Frae Wilson. But they botched a resultant penalty and the Steamers escaped.

To their credit, at least the visitors' defence improved and it took until the 69th minute before Noakes could add another penalty to make in 25-0.

It looked like Wellington could limit that damage to the end but wing Ben Smith found space behind his own line, broke through and fed Perrin, who burst upfield before Noakes provided the final pass to Arnold.

Bay of Plenty 32 (John Pareanga, Taniela Moa, Phil Burleigh, Toby Arnold tries; Chris Noakes 2 con, 2 pen). HT: 22-0