Taylor sets up fourth ITM Cup win

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Saturday, September 3, 2011    Getty Images

Taylor, 21, only made the field after starting first five-eighths Tyler Bleyendaal was forced from the field with an injury, having missed a relatively easy penalty goal chance for the visitors.

But Taylor stepped as if primed for the occasion and landed penalty goals in the 24th, 33rd, 38th and 76th minutes for a 100 percent record for the side.

He also marshalled the backline defence which as with the Waikato combination proved unyielding on the night.

This was a true final, it wasn't always pretty. In fact, it was hardly ever pretty. It was dogged stuff, reflective of the type of campaign it had been for all teams, but especially for the finalists who had one extra week of it all.

There were hopes that a successful night for Waikato would cap the careers of departing local legends Stephen Donald and captain Nathan White but try as they might, the home team were unable to send them on their way in the appropriate style.

Waikato went into the fourth quarter 3-9 behind, having withstood several Canterbury assaults on their line but which never really looked like stretching the home defences.

But then some uncharacteristic Canterbury mistakes provided an opening and wing George Speight provided some rare fizz for the home crowd when getting the ball from flanker Marty Holah. With room to move Speight cut inside and headed for the line only to be dragged down short.

Waikato then won the ruck and it was Holah who was ruled to have been held up over the line. Canterbury then cleared the line and Waikato, playing catch-up were foced to go through the whole process again.

Waikato started out looking the more likely on attack. Prop Toby Smith made two strong runs early in the game while Donald charged hard at the Canterbury defences, but as was the case for both sides there were very few openings and the first half was more like a chess game.

Wyatt Crockett was powerful in scrummaging and around the field for Canterbury while flanker Matt Todd had a superb battle with Holah in the loose. Flanker George Whitelock had to mix it in the tight given the nature of the game while home No.8 Alex Bradley shared the honours with his bullocking Canterbury rival Nasi Manu.


Waikato 3 (Stephen Donald pen) Canterbury 12 (Tom Taylor 4 pen ). HT: 3-9