Taranaki add to Auckland's misery

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Saturday, September 9, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Making good use of a strong wind in the second half, and unleashing some scrum power at the right time, Taranaki equalled the 49 points they put on Auckland in 2014.
It was an improvement on their humiliation at the hands of North Harbour a week ago for Auckland but they couldn't generate the extra power to push on from the 25-19 advantage they had built at half-time.

When Taranaki posted two tries in the first seven minutes it seemed Auckland was doomed to another thrashing. A long pass from centre Seta Tamanivalu found Declan O'Donnell on the wing and he dived over in the corner before landing in touch.

Moments later Auckland attempted to run the ball from just inside their own half but a TJ Faiane pass was intercepted by Taranaki No.8 Toa Halafihi and there was no one in place to halt him.

Pride took over for Auckland and on the back of some key leadership responses from No.8 Jerome Kaino, who made some powerful charges with the ball in hand, and some stunning tackling by flanker Blake Gibson and lock and captain Patrick Tuipulotu, the home team lifted their effort and produced a 10th minute try for wing Vince Aso.

Building much more constructively through the pack Auckland were in again when prop Marcel Renata capped a 17-phase build-up to score beneath the posts and claim the lead in the 18th minute.

Taranaki's concession of penalties twice allowed halfback Jono Hickey to add the points to get out to an 18-12 lead.

However, Taranaki came back and it was first five-eighths Stephen Perofeta who put on the pace after receiving an inside pass from second five-eighths Sean Wainui in the 32nd minute.

Powerful play off the back of a scrum in the Taranaki 22m area two minutes from half-time by Kaino took play up to the line and it was blindside flanker Taleni Seu who got over the line.

Taranaki lifted their game in the second half and demonstrated their scrum power with a pile-driving effort in the 50th minute which pushed Auckland back to their line. The ball emerged and halfback Te Toiroa Tahuiorangi scored.

Their lead was extended when Perofeta blasted a penalty goal from 54m out and then as Auckland attempted to run the ball an uncontrolled loose pass from Kaino was not contained and Taranaki loose forward Lachlan Boshier toed the ball ahead to score.

Trying to get back into the game, another loose Auckland pass in Taranaki's 22m had disastrous consequences as Perofeta swept on the ball, passed to replacement second five-eighths Charlie Ngatai who flicked a backhand pass to replacement halfback Kylem O'Donnell raced 50m to score.

Aso got another try in the 70th minute, after batting a cross kick from Faiane for Trainor to take and for centre Malakai Fekitoa to flick to the supporting Aso. Then working with Trainor again they punished rare loose ball from Taranaki as the fullback kept the ball in and then found Aso on his outside and the wing did the rest.

Scorers: Auckland 38 (Vince Aso 3, Marcel Renata, Taleni Seu tries; Jono Hickey con, 3 pen; Tyrone Elkington-MacDonald con) Taranaki 49 (Declan O'Donnell, Toa Halafihi, Stephen Perofeta, Te Toiroa Tahuiorangi, Lachlan Boshier, Kylem O'Donnell tries; Marty McKenzie 5 con, 2 pen; Perofeta pen). HT: 25-19