Mitre 10 Cup Review - Week 9
Sunday, October 6, 2019 Lynn McConnell Getty Images
Auckland's fate will depend on it beating Taranaki in New Plymouth. Success would leave it waiting until the last game of regular season play when fourth-placed North Harbour travel to Christchurch for the final Ranfurly Shield challenge of the season. It will require North Harbour to lift the Shield to deny Auckland.
In the Championship section all the interest will be on the two bays, Hawke's Bay and Bay of Plenty, who continue to dominate, Hawke's Bay extending Counties Manukau's relegation pains with a 22-10 win while Bay of Plenty dealt to Manawatu 46-10. Third-placed Otago are 11 points off second place.
Mitre 10 Cup – Week 9
Counties Manukau 10 Hawke's Bay 22
It's not rocket science but Hawke's Bay used their forward power to take the game to Counties Manukau in Pukekohe. They established a solid scoring base, with hooker Ash Dixon touching down again, held out the best home efforts and then in the final quarter sat back and watched Tiaan Falcon mark his return for an injury break that has extended since Super Rugby with a penalty goal landed from within his own half and then a run from inside his own 22m which split the defence and created a chance for halfback Fotau Fakatava to run in the try that sealed the outcome for the Bay.
Scorers: Counties Manukau 10 (Jonathan Kawau try; Orbyn Leger con, pen) Hawke's Bay 22 (Tom Parsons, Ash Dixon, Fotau Fakatava tries; Lincoln McClutchie con; Tiaan Falcon con, pen). HT: 3-12
Home halfback Bryn Hall demonstrated all the rugby education he has had with the Crusaders when unleashing a dominant display for North Harbour in a first half display which shattered Wellington at Albany. A flick pass for the first try for prop Karl Tu'inukuafe, a well-placed kick for wing Matt Duffie to run onto to score, another kick which Duffie couldn't grab but which fell to Hall following up and North Harbour were out to an unlikely 32-8 halftime lead. Wellington came back, with Vince Aso especially dangerous, but a second try, taken from a quick tap by Duffie just after the break spelled the difference.
Scorers: North Harbour 42 (Karl Tu'inukuafe, Shaun Stevenson, Matt Duffie 2, Harrison Groundwater, Bryn Hall tries; Matt McGahan 3 con pen; Stevenson pen) Wellington 34 (James Blackwell, Vince Aso, Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, Sitiveni Paongo, Wes Goosen tries; Jackson Garden-Bachop 3 con, pen). HT: 32-8
Running the ball wide as often as possible Bay of Plenty spread Manawatu's defence with telling effect and represented on the scored by three tries to left wing Joe Ravouvou while on the right wing Emoni Narawa scored one and set up another in similar moves. And when Manawatu eyes were diverted livewire halfback Richard Judd looked up from a 22m line ruck, saw a gap and raced in for a try beneath the posts and it was left for Jason Robertson to snare a Manawatu in-pass to run in the seventh try.
Scorers: Bay of Plenty 46 (Joe Ravouvou 3, Kurt Eklund, Emoni Narawa, Richard Judd, Jason Robertson tries; Kaleb Trask con, pen; Robertson 3 con) Manawatu 10 (Jamie Booth try; Otere Black con, Andre Taylor pen). HT: 15-3
Only one Southland team has ever won on Eden Park and given recent history it was unlikely to change on Saturday. Auckland, having had a frustrating season, were in the mood to make amends and to keep their playoffs hopes alive. They managed that when running in 10 tries to a solitary southern response. It was an impressive display of hard running which saw Caleb Clarke showing his wares with two tries on the right wing while the support play throughout was typified by halfback Danny Tusitala also scoring two tries.
Scorers: Auckland 64 (Caleb Clarke 2, Dalton Papalii 2, Danny Tusitala 2, Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa, Salesi Rayasi, TJ Faiane, Jonathan Ruru tries; Harry Plummer 7 con) Southland 7 (Greg Pleasants-Tate try; Marty McKenzie con). HT: 24-0
Among the many virtues of modern Canterbury rugby is the knowledge of what it takes to win the Ranfurly Shield, and that was laid bare at Otago's cost in Dunedin. It is usually the challenger who is required to take the risks but so well did Canterbury start in the game, that it was Otago who had to play catch up and in the process conceding two intercept tries to speedster Josh McKay and Tim Bateman while pulling one back themselves through Adam Thomson. Up 13-6 at the turn, Canterbury immediately pounced for halfback Mitchell Drummond to highlight the support play they enjoyed by scoring. Otago responded but ran out of time.
Scorers: Otago 25 (Sio Tomkinson, Adam Thomson, Jona Nareki tries; Josh Ioane 2 con, 2 pen) Canterbury 35 (Josh McKay, Mitchell Drummond, Sam Gilbert, Tim Bateman tries; Brett Cameron 3 con, 3 pen). HT: 6-13
Fullback Will Jordan revelled in the superb spring conditions to put his speed to use in scoring two tries, one of them nearly the length of the field from a Northland turnover, while another break gave midfielder Jamie Spowart the easiest of runs in. When Jordan wasn't cutting loose the Tasman pack was showing their skills in driving, mauling play of the highest quality to deny Northland all but one try in a romp in Nelson on Sunday. Taking his chance as a replacement mid-fielder Tim O'Malley who showed his own ability on the break when selling a dummy to open a gap and speeding through it to score.
Scorers: Tasman 52 (Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Will Jordan 2, Sione Havili, Jamie Spowart, Tim O'Malley, Wyatt Crockett, Taina Fox-Matamua tries; Mitchell Hunt 6 con) Northland 6 (Jack Debreczeny 2 pen). HT: 19-6
Waikato had too much power and combination for a Taranaki side which is by no means certain of a Championship playoffs place after their loss. Taranaki are two points clear of Manawatu but are hosting a tough opponent in Auckland in the final round while Manawatu will sense a chance of snaffling a win over Counties Manukau who can't avoid relegation, when they play in Palmerston North. Waikato are not out of playoffs contention either, albeit dependent on their beating Wellington and both Auckland and North Harbour losing.
Scorers: Waikato 38 (Solomon Alaimalo 2, Declan O'Donnell, Samisona Taukei'aho, Quinn Tupaea, James Tucker tries; Fletcher Smith 4 con) Taranaki 19 (Teihorangi Walden, Sean Wainui, Pita Sowakula tries; Stephen Perofeta 2 con). HT: 19-12
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