Canterbury knock steam out of Bay of Plenty

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Thursday, September 5, 2013    Getty Images

Even a heavy penalty count against them and a frustrating night at the scrum couldn't contain the Canterbury effervescence.

It is doubtful mistakes made in attacking positions have cost a side as dearly as they did the Bay of Plenty. Against a team like Canterbury those errors, aided by some ineffectual tackling, proved terminal.

What made Bay of Plenty's situation worse were instances like those when two first half try-scoring chances were declined while Canterbury No.8 Jordan Taufua was in the sin-bin. Firstly, replacement lock Joe Tupe dived over the line from a rolling maul only to find wing Patrick Osborne had a hand beneath the ball.

Then from the resulting play wing Kimami Sitauti was pushed out in the corner.

Early in the second half, first five-eighths Willie Ripia had a chance to kick a penalty goal, but the strong wind blew it across the face of the goal and while it was knocked on in-goal, Canterbury were able to clear the situation.

Firstly, Canterbury first five-eighths Tyler Bleyendaal opened up a big gap which saw him link with centre Adam Whitelock and while his progress was halted short of the goal-line he managed to slip a pass to wing Milford Keresoma to score.

Then, almost from the restart, Canterbury moved the ball around before second five-eighths Ryan Crotty wormed his way through an opening and raced away for another try.

From 6-6, Bay of Plenty found themselves down 6-20 at half-time.

A similar start to the second half saw Bay halfback Josh Hall slip as he went to place the ball over the line after some impressive work by the Bay pack, with flanker Tanerau Latimer making two classy turnovers at rucks.

But it was all to no avail. Canterbury cleared their line and then took advantage of more weak Bay defence when Bleyendaal and Taufua combined to set up Crotty, halfback Andrew Ellis and finally, flanker George Whitelock who scored.

Bay of Plenty had reward when completing some relentless driving at the Canterbury line to build on more penalties conceded by the visitors when the ball set let out for the backs and centre Kendrick Lynn was able to run at speed onto the ball to score.

Again the Bay attention and defensive intensity wavered when replacement halfback Willi Heinz was able to corkscrew his way out of trouble to link with his forwards and in the resulting play it was Keresoma who charged onto a short pass from Heinz to score.

However, the ping-pong continued when Bay got back downfield for Hall to provide a chance which No.8 Carl Axtends accepted to score.

Bay turned the ball over near halfway and when Heinz took the blindside route, wing Osborne chipped a kick ahead where Bleyendaal took the ball to find George Whitelock in support and he raced in for his second.

Replacement back Rob Thompson completed the scoring with the final try.

It was a tough night for the home side but it looks like nothing can stop Canterbury's momentum towards another ITM Cup title.

Bay of Plenty 18 (Kendrick Lynn, Carl Axtends tries; Willie Ripia con, 2 pen) Canterbury 48 (Milford Keresoma 2, Ryan Crotty, George Whitelock 2; Rob Thompson tries; Tyler Bleyendaal 5 con, 2 pen; Richard Mo'unga con). HT: 6-20