Taranaki 21 - 3 Bay of Plenty, ITM Cup
Taranaki add to Bay of Plenty's NPC woes
September 21, 2013
Kurt Baker's try was a highlight in an otherwise dour affair
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Bay of Plenty continued their dreadful record against Taranaki and sunk further into a National Provincial Championship relegation hole with a 21-3 loss in New Plymouth.
The two teams residing at the bottom of the Premiership division played out a suitably dour match, which was marred by constant rain and stoppages. Taranaki's third win from seven games lifts them one place to fifth on 12 points - a point ahead of Waikato, who have played one less game.
Bay of Plenty's sixth loss from seven - and fourth in a row - leaves them on five points and needing to win at least two of their three remaining matches to avoid automatically dropping to the second-tier Championship division next year. Their remaining opponents are fourth-placed Counties Manukau, Waikato and Championship side Northland.
A considerable improvement will be needed after going scoreless for the last 76 minutes against a superior and more disciplined Taranaki. The visitors offered little after hitting the front through a penalty to fly-half Willie Ripia and having an apparent try to flanker Tanerau Latimer ruled out for obstruction.
Poor discipline - they conceded 15 penalties to Taranaki's five - and some messy set piece work were punished by the hosts, who have won the last six games between the teams.
Taranaki have suffered some heavy losses this season but showed glimpses of the form that took them to last year's semi-finals. They won a host of turnover ball through strong defence and their general kicking game was superior to the visitors.
Centre Andre Taylor kicked 11 points while their tries either side of halftime went to No.8 Blade Thomson and fullback Kurt Baker. Baker's try was a classic, set up by quick hands 60 metres out from the tryline and finished by the former national sevens player, who produced a sublime chip and chase near the touchline.