Canterbury’s second half intensity retains Shield

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Friday, September 8, 2017    Getty Images

It was mission impossible for the Championship cellar dwellers Southland against the Premiership leaders Canterbury, but memories of their Ranfurly Shield victories in 2009 and 2011 loomed large as they scored two tries late in the first half to draw the scores level 17-17.


Canterbury have swept aside all contenders in 2017 and lifted their intensity to score an incredible 61 points in a breathless second half to secure their fourth bonus point win in four matches.

Southland came to south to play, and play they did in the first half by taking the game to Canterbury with an adventurous running and off-loading game.

After classy first five-eighth Richie Mo’unga laid on 17 points on the back of two well worked tries and a penalty, the Stags dominated the closing stages with tries to Junior Ngaluafe, Heria Fomai to make it 17-17 at the break.

It was game on – or so it seemed. The reigning Premiership champions came out of the sheds a different side. A quick double to impressive young wing Braydon Ennor took the score to 29-17 in a flash and there was no coming back for Southland.

Canterbury’s forwards and backs combined to pour the pressure on Southland in every facet of play and they were constantly caught napping out wide as Ennor completed quartet or tries and fullback George Bridge grabbed a hat trick in the thumping win.

Southland can be proud of their first half efforts, but they simply were no match for a side that has set the standard in New Zealand domestic rugby for the past decade.

The victory ensures that Canterbury will stay top of the Premiership standings after four rounds while the Stags are yet to gain a competition point and sit rooted to the bottom of the Championship.


Canterbury 78 (Braydon Ennor 4, George Bridge 3, Josh McKay, Tim Bateman tries, Richie Mo’unga pen, 2 tries, 4 con, Brett Cameron 4 con) Southland 20 (Junior Ngaluafe, Heria Fomai tries, Scott Eade 2 pen, 2 con)
HT: 17-17