Canterbury dash Waikato’s Ranfurly Shield hopes

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Saturday, September 30, 2017    Getty Images

Waikato came south with hopes of reclaiming the Ranfurly Shield they lost to Canterbury last year, but a thrilling four try, 20 minute period from Canterbury proved the difference. 


It had all the makings of a hard-fought Ranfurly Shield encounter after 20 minutes with Canterbury up just 3-0 courtesy of a lone Richie Mo’unga penalty goal.

Waikato knew they would have to chance their arm to really challenge Canterbury but it back-fired when an ambitious pass was intercepted by left wing Braydon Ennor who ran away for his eighth try of the season.

It opened the door for a blistering finish to the second half with tries to Rob Thompson and Josh McKay pushing Canterbury’s lead to 30-0 in quick time. The score line didn’t reflect how competitive Waikato had been across the park but was more an indication of how clinical Canterbury are in nailing their scoring opportunities.

Waikato did have the last say in the half though when second five-eighth Pita Ahki brushed aside Richie Mo’unga to make it 30-5 at the break. 

It took just five minutes into the second half for Canterbury to cross for their bonus point try when Tom Sanders went over following a steady build up. Richie Mo’unga continued his flawless night with the boot to land the conversion from out wide to make it 37-5 and snuff out any distant hope of a Waikato comeback.

It was Canterbury’s fourth try in a crucial 20 minute period but it was to be their last as Waikato showed plenty of guts and determination control the remainder of the match.

With great ball recycling up front, Waikato dominated possession in the second half and kept the pressure on Canterbury out wide through the incisive running of Sevu Reece. Waikato finished the match with two tries to Reece to make it 37-17 but couldn’t grab a bonus point try and came away from Christchurch empty-handed.

Canterbury 37 (Braydon Ennor, Rob Thompson, Josh McKay, Tom Sanders tries, Richie Mo’unga 3 pen, 4 con) Waikato 17 (Pita Ahki try, Sevu Reece 2 tries, con)
HT: 30-5