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Cameron kicks Taranaki home

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Sportal.co.nz     04 Sep 2009     Getty Images

Both teams scored a try apiece but it was the goal-kicking of Taranaki fullback Jack Cameron, who landed four half penalty goals that ultimately spelled the difference.

The game finished with North Harbour launching yet another long range attack but a scrambling Taranaki defence kept North Harbour contained.

For a game that produced so much running rugby it was a measure of the respective defences that the try scoring was kept so low.

The third of his goals, which regained the lead 14-13 for Taranaki, was a controversial call with replacement North Harbour forward Malakai Ravulo being called for a high tackle on Taranaki second five-eighths Jayden Hayward when it was a legitimate tackle.

Conditions were difficult with a cool breeze having an effect on goal-kicking options for those playing into it. In the first half Taranaki opted to kick penalties to the corners and then when turning to play with it, it kept its infringements to a minimum.

Taranaki first five-eighths Willie Ripia opened the scoring in the fourth minute after his pack won a lineout five metres from the North Harbour line.

No.8 Jarrad Hoeta secured the long throw and from the resulting maul, the ball was moved to the blindside by halfback Brett Goodin and Ripia took the pass and bumped off the tackle attempt from North Harbour halfback Chris Smylie and dived over in the corner.

Taranaki forwards flanker Scott Waldrom and hooker Laurence Corlett, were dynamic in the loose and give their side some consistent early momentum.

But good North Harbour defence withstood the attacks and the Albany-based side had its own time on attack in the second quarter. Smylie and first five-eighths Ben Botica worked well together as the ball was moved hither and yon in some sweeping moves.

However, it had to make do with a Botica penalty goal in the 18th minute until some smart work by Smylie in the 33rd minute produced its first try.

North Harbour was awarded a scrum penalty about 10m from the Taranaki line and Smylie grabbed the ball, tapped it and got in low to force his way over the line having caught the defenders napping. Botica added the conversion to give North Harbour a 10-5 lead.

North Harbour's lineout was again a formidable combination but Taranaki had three players in locks Jason Eaton and Craig Clarke and Hoeta to compete and keep their pack in the hunt.

Scorers:

Taranaki 17 (Willie Ripia try; Jack Cameron 4 pen) North Harbour 13 (Chris Smylie try; Ben Botica 2 pen). HT: 5-10