Canterbury edge valiant North Harbour
Saturday, October 21, 2017 allblacks.com Getty Images
QUICK TAP: BAY OF PLENTY STORM INTO CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
North Harbour have been one of the true entertainers in 2017 and came out firing to take a 10-0 lead after just ten minutes to send the shivers through the AMI Stadium faithful. North Harbour first five-eighth Ben Volavola was the architect of Harbour’s fast start with the converted try and penalty.
All eyes were on how young Canterbury pivot Brett Cameron would handle the pressure in place of the unavailable Richie Mo’unga.
After a couple of nervous moments early on, Cameron settled into his work and steered Canterbury expertly around the park.
Mitchell Drummond has not been far from the action all season and when he crossed in the 18th minute, it sparked a dominant ten minutes for Canterbury where they turned the tables on the Hibiscus.
A penalty goal to Cameron and try to George Bridge completed a fantastic turnaround for Canterbury as they went for oranges up 17-10.
Harbour came out of the sheds firing as the brilliant Volavola put them hot on attack before powerful front rower Chris Eves barged over.
The second-half was a true semifinal arm wrestle as the teams traded tries to leave the score precariously placed at 25-24 to Canterbury with just a few minutes left on the clock.
Canterbury captain Luke Whitelock said: “It was a big challenge. North Harbour didn’t roll over and have played well all year. We got pushed deep and had to take control of some of areas and did that well in the last ten minutes. We will celebrate the win now, have a couple of days off, then prepare for what comes next week.”
Canterbury will face the winner of the Taranaki v Tasman semifinal.
Canterbury 35 (Mitchell Drummond, George Bridge, Billy Harmon, Tim Bateman tries, Brett Cameron 3 con, 3 pen) North Harbour 24 (Chris Eves, Murphy Taramai tries, Ben Volavola try, 3 con, pen)
FT | Canterbury will defend their Premiership title after a 35 - 24 win over North Harbour to advance to the final.#CANvHAR pic.twitter.com/x5Vb8JZjmm— Mitre10 Cup (@Mitre10Cup) October 21, 2017
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