ITM Cup
Waikato easily dismantle Steamers
ESPN Staff
August 27, 2015
Despite a great start, Southland couldn't hold North Harbour out and went down at the death © Getty Images
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Southland 25-26 North Harbour

North Harbour snatched a victory at the death over Southland after they came from behind in the second half and stole the win with a penalty after the siren to defeat Southland 26-25.

Bay of Plenty 10-43 Waikato

A third ITM Cup game in nine days proved too much for Bay of Plenty who have succumbed 43-10 to Waikato in a cross-over derby match in Tauranga. The visitors scored six tries to one to climb from fifth to third place in the Premiership standings while Bay of Plenty's 2-2 record leaves them stalled in the middle of the Championship table.

Shaky work at the set piece from the home side and some ragged defence gave Waikato a free ride to the tryline, most notably in a 35-minute period either side of halftime when they scored 36 unanswered points. It was their best performance of the season following a 15-point loss to leaders Tasman and a narrow win over the struggling Manawatu.

Half-back Brad Weber underlined the importance of diligent backup play with two first-half tries, using his speed to support breaks and outstrip the last line of defence. The other first half try went to hooker Michael Mayhew to open up a 24-3 lead at the break.

Bay of Plenty's most notable first half acts were an early penalty to second five-eighth Dan Hollinshead and a yellow card shown to captain Culum Retallick for a professional foul. They conjured their only try late in the game, to reserve halfback Joe Tupe, but second five-eighth Jordan Payne, flanker Zane Kapeli and lock James Tucker all crossed for Waikato to maintain a traditional dominance over their Chiefs franchise neighbours. First five-eighth Damian McKenzie kicked 13 points.

Bay of Plenty will enjoy a week-long break before their next game, having squeezed in games against Tasman, Southland and Waikato since Friday last week.

Wellington hammered Northland to keep them pointless © Getty Images
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Wellington 29-0 Northland

In appalling conditions, Corey Jane was playing at his absolute best in his last hope of impressing All Blacks selectors. Hammering the struggling Northland side, Wellington kept the visitors scoreless, but it's unlikely Jane's strong game will secure him an All Blacks spot for the World Cup.

It was, however, Wellington's wings Wes Goosen and Joe Hill that got Wellington on the board first with the pair scoring great first half tries to take Wellington into the break 17-0. Ardie Savea kept the ball rolling in the second half as attacking opportunities became harder to come by, but replacement fly-half Jackson Garden-Bachop also got on the board to provide Wellington with a four-try bonus-point win, while also keeping Northland scoreless, for their second consecutive game.

Taranaki 27-34 Otago

Otago set up their first win of the national provincial rugby championship with a storming second half to down Taranaki 34-27 in the rain in New Plymouth. Both teams were winless going into Saturday's cross-over game, and last year's Premiership winners Taranaki looked to be well in control as they ran in three first-half tries for a 22-6 half-time lead.

All Blacks first five-eighth Beauden Barrett set up the first after 12 minutes with a midfield break before offloading for winger Jackson Ormond to score. No.8 Iopu Iopu-Aso created the second with a bullocking midfield break, finishing off the sweeping move with excellent support play to dot down in the left corner.

Barrett's pin-point cross-field kick to Codey Rei on the right wing three minutes before halftime left Taranaki looking well in control with a 16-point lead at the break. However, back-to-back tries to replacement flanker Naulia Dawai from almost identical line-out drives hauled Otago back into the match, Taranaki's lead reduced to 22-20 after 63 minutes.

Sean Wainui's bonus-point try out wide four minutes later restored Taranaki's lead to healthier proportions but Otago replied almost immediately through replacement prop Aki Seiuli to level the scores with eight minutes remaining.

The southerners then displayed real patience in laying siege to Taranaki's line deep into stoppage time, using the pick and go with devastating effect before halfback Kaide Whiting dived over for the match-winner.

A fast finish for Auckland wasn't enough to chase down Canterbury © Getty Images
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Auckland 21-27 Canterbury

Charles Piutau and Charlie Faumuina had their last chance to push for a World Cup spot this afternoon when their Auckland side took on Canterbury. Unfortunately for the All Blacks players, they weren't able to give Auckland the resulted they desired as Canterbury scored their first win at Eden Park in four years.

In his first game of rugby since his neck surgery in May, Faumuina had a strong game for Auckland, but in a tight contest between two of the competition's best sides, Canterbury were hard to shut down as they ran in four tries - two through Johnny McNicholl - for a bonus point win.

Canterbury consolidated second place on the ITM Cup's premiership table with a tight win. After their third win from as many starts, Canterbury sit just one point behind competition leaders Tasman after their 41-21 thumping of Manawatu on Thursday.

First-half tries to Ryan Crotty, McNicholl and Daniel Lienert-Brown gave Canterbury a useful 19-8 lead at the break, although Auckland held an 8-7 lead after 34 minutes. Crotty opened the scoring after 15 minutes, pouncing on a loose Simon Hickey pass and cantering untouched to the line as Auckland were punished for a lack of accuracy when they looked to shift the ball wide.

Auckland regathered, showing patience and a willingness to build phases before No.8 Akira Ioane bulldozed over from close range with returning All Blacks prop Faumuina on his shoulder. Canterbury proved punishing in the closing minutes before half-time, McNicholl showing good pace down the left to score and prop Lienert-Brown finished off Patrick Osborne's well-weighted chip ahead.

Auckland muscled their way back into the game as the hour mark neared, second five-eighth George Moala wrestling his way over to cut back Canterbury's lead to just four. The home team maintained pressure despite losing lock Liaki Moli with a suspected broken arm, but McNicholl's second try in the left corner earned Canterbury some breathing space.

A series of penalties left Auckland six points astray, hot on attack against 14-man Canterbury after prop Ben Funnell's sin-binning with barely a minute to go. But Canterbury's defence held firm and they wrapped up their second bonus-point win of the season.

Hawke's Bay's Zac Guildford sprints clear to score a try © Getty Images
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Counties Manukau 11-35 Hawke's Bay

Hawke's Bay racked up their third successive win in rugby's national provincial championship with a comfortable 35-11 win over Counties Manukau in Pukekohe on Friday. The Championship leaders looked comfortable running in two tries in each half as they recorded their third bonus-point win of the season.

First five-eighth Ihaia West was in deadly form with the boot, sinking three penalties and three conversions but it was the Magpies' accuracy with the ball in hand which proved key. Lock Mark Abbott and second five-eighth Andrew Horrell both crossed in the last five minutes of the first spell to give the visitors a handy 20-3 lead at halftime.

Premiership strugglers Counties' handling errors proved costly, and they couldn't convert their territorial advantage into points on the board. Hawke's Bay winger Zac Guildford, who was denied a try in the first half with a double movement, scored early in the second with an opportunist intercept try eight minutes after the restart.

He crossed again two minutes later, but the try was disallowed after Bay hooker Ash Dixon was ruled to have obstructed Counties fullback Toni Pulu from making the tackle as Guildford hared down the right touch. Counties were finally rewarded for hard work from a rare attacking lineout, No.8 Ma'ama Vaipulu crashing over in the 68th minute to bring some respectability to the scoreline.

Hawke's Bay had the last word, however, winger Shannan Chase finding space on the left wing to crash over for the bonus point try with five minutes remaining.

© Getty Images
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Tasman Makos 41-21 Manawatu Turbos

Tasman Makos has maintained their top spot on the premiership division with a dominant 41-21 win over the Manawatu Turbos in Blenheim on Thursday night. Using an 11-minute second half scoring run, Makos ran away with the game, scoring two converted tries and two penalties to bury the Turbos.

The Makos held an early lead over the Turbos, heading into the half-time break 21-7 before they opened the match up in the second half and dealt the Turbos their third defeat of the season.

Starting strong, the Turbos scored the first try in the match in response to a Makos penalty early in the match, but it didn't take long for the Makos to regain and build a strong lead with the home-side crossing for two tries before the break.

The Turbos were given several chances to close the gap, but Otere Black's radar wasn't on point, however Makos fly-half Marty Banks had no such trouble adding three points to lead 21-7 into the break.

The Turbos closed the gap to just seven points after the break when winger Semisi Masirewa timed his run perfectly to cross under the sticks. But the Makos weren't to be stopped with Banksconverting two penalties before substitute winger Villami Lolohea busted one tackle and set up Pete Samu for his second of the night. Replacement half-back Jimmy Cowan soon got into the match scoring one of his own to blow the lead out to 41-14.

With almost a perfect performance, Makos would be disappointed after Shane Christie was ruled to have tripped Turbos would-be try scorer Callum Gibbons, giving away a penalty try and sending himself to the sin bin for ten minutes.

But the penalty try came too late for the Turbos to get their game going.

© Getty Images
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Bay of Plenty 26-10 Southland

Bay of Plenty made sure to punish Southland for their poor discipline as they ran out for their second win in three matches in Tauranga on Wednesday night, with All Black flanker Sam Cane making his presence felt throughout the game. Their second loss in five days, Southland continued to concede a large number of penalties, leaving the side to ponder their woes in the 26-10 loss.

Cane showed his class during the match, making sure to keep himself in the All Blacks frame for the World Cup. But it was fly-halves Nick Evemy and Dan Hollinshead who converted the Stag's poor discipline into points, with Evemy taking a remarkable six penalty attempts within the opening 25 minutes. Although he only converted three of his six attempts, he was able to give the Steamers a 9-0 lead. The Stags were finally given a chance for points after they ventured in the Steamers territory and managed to come away with an Ash Moeke penalty, however those were to be their only points of the first half.

Within five minutes of the second half, the Steamers were converting yet another penalty, but it was the Stag's who sparked the game into life with debutant Tauasosi Tuimavave making a nice break down the left side-line, which eventually saw No.8 Bill Fukofuka scoring in the corner, giving their coach Brad Mooar some positives from the match.

However, their jubilance was short lived with the Steamers hitting back quickly with their first try through fullback Te Rangi Fraser. Steamers' wing Chase Tiatia also got into the game scoring a long range try of his own, pushing the score 26-10, and ending the Stag's chances of a come from behind win.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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