Clinical Northland leap up ladder
Saturday, October 7, 2017 Mitre10Cup.co.nz Getty Images
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They did so with a three-tries-to-one victory over a Hawke's Bay side that were left playing catch up from the fourth minute.
It was a vintage performance from Northland, who were wearing retro jerseys in their final home game of the regular season.
Flanker Dan Pryor scored two tries, but it was Solomon Alaimalo who was the most influential player for the hosts. His ability to break the line and evade defenders gave Northland momentum, and they capitalised.
Cardiff Vaega was the eventual benefactor after another beautiful kick through from Ihaia West that Northland failed to clear.
Defensively, however, Hawke's Bay were left scratching their heads as the hosts offloaded at will in front of an entertained crowd at Toll Stadium.
Northland's second try minutes before half-time allowed the score to blow out somewhat to 17-7. They extended that margin to 20 points with a deserved try to Rene Ranger, who was put into space by charging hooker Matt Moulds.
The icing was put on Northland's cake when lock Tim Bond finished the match with the team's bonus point try to see them take maximum points from a dominant performance.
Hawke's Bay, however, were left dejected as they tasted defeat for the eighth time in nine matches.
Northland 34 (Dan Pryor 2, Tim Bond, Rene Ranger tries; Peter Breen 2 con, pen, Dan Hawkins con, pen) Hawke's Bay 7 (Cardiff Vaega try; Ihaia West con). HT: 17-7.
FT | Northland move up to second position on the Championship table with a 34 - 7 bonus point win over Hawke’s Bay.#NORvBAY pic.twitter.com/Q1OU3gfDGH— Mitre10 Cup (@Mitre10Cup) October 7, 2017
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