Canterbury crowned champions once again

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Saturday, October 28, 2017    Getty Images

In the 2016 Premiership final between the same sides, it was Mo’unga who starred with two tries and he was even more influential tonight with a record 25 point haul for a Mitre 10 Cup Premiership final. 


Canterbury completely shut out Tasman 39-0 when they met in round one, but it didn’t take long to see this clash would be a lot closer as the Makos took the game to the reigning champions in the opening quarter.

Playing with high energy and enthusiasm, Tasman had Canterbury on the back foot and opened the scoring in the 10th minute when powerful midfielder Levi Aumua finished off a brilliant interchange of passing.

A Mitchell Hunt penalty soon after stretched Tasman out to a 10-0 lead – a fair reflection of their early dominance.

Enter Richie Mo’unga. The classy first five-eighth missed last week’s semifinal due to being assembled with the All Blacks but stunned Tasman with two brilliant individual tries in the space of five minutes.

In the first, he beat two defenders down the short side to put Canterbury on the board. The second was a spectacular 50 metre effort where he completely bamboozled the Tasman defence to put Canterbury out in front for the first time.

With regular front rowers Tim Perry and Kane Hames with the All Blacks Northern Tour squad, Tasman struggled upfront and Canterbury took advantage on the stroke of halftime.

Opting for a lineout instead of a shot at goal, Canterbury struck on a vital blow on Tasman as Tim Bateman crossed to put Canterbury out to a 19-13 halftime lead.

Canterbury dominated possession in the second half but struggled to cross the line as the Makos defence remained resolute. The pressure told on the scoreboard through Richie Mo’unga penalties in the 42nd, 55th and 64th minute to put the home side out to a 28-13 lead with 15 minutes to play.

Tasman looked to stretch the ball wide to the exciting pair of James Lowe and Will Jordan in the closing stages but the Canterbury defence was equal to the task and was not willing to offer Tasman a route back into the contest.

Fittingly it was Mo’unga who orchestrated Canterbury’s only second half try when he put Jack Stratton over to confirm Canterbury as the best team in New Zealand for another season.

Canterbury 35 (Tim Bateman, Jack Stratton tries, Richie Mo’unga 2 tries, 3 con, 3 pen) Tasman 13 (Levi Aumua tries, Mitchell Hunt con, pen)
HT: 19-13