Bunnings NPC: Round 2 Review

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Auckland's position is the result of it having completed three games with a midweek win over Manawatu, ahead of Sunday's 24-23 win over Southland.


Canterbury with two wins from two games has 10 points in second place.


Bay of Plenty and Waikato are one point behind Hawke's Bay with Counties Manukau, the beaten Ranfurly Shield challenger in the round another point further back.


Bunnings Cup Round 2




Manawatu 18 Auckland 45


Determined as the Manawatu defence was at FMG Stadium, it wasn't enough to contain an Auckland side growing in combination. However, the two tries scored by Manawatu showed the class on call with wing Ed Fidow capitalising on a blindside break by halfback Luke Campbell. Support came from fullback Drew Wild who gave Fidow the easiest run in. At the three-quarter mark, flanker Jordan Galloway scored an outstanding solo try after being given the ball on the sideline 55m out. He headed the defence, then stepped inside two cover tacklers to score. There was a hint of a Manawatu revival, but the Auckland machine stepped up.


Auckland had to wear the home team down in both halves. In the first they scored three tries in the last 10 minutes and then two more in the last seven minutes of the second. Flanker Nico Jones, who thrived in the loose, scored his first try and opened the try ledger for Auckland. A vital try was scored at the start of second half by fullback Jordan Trainor. First five-eighths Simon Hickey kicked high ball deep into the in-goal. Auckland went close to making a hash of it with the ball bouncing high. However, Trainor, the second man in leapt high to get the ball just inside the dead ball line. That proved a key buffer against the potential Manawatu threat.


Manawatu 18 (Ed Fidow, Johnny Galloway tries; Brett Cameron con, 2pen) Auckland 45 (Nico Jones, Vaiolini Ekusai, Terrell Peita, Jordan Trainor, Sofai Maka, Hamish Dalzell tries; Simon Hickey 6 con, pen). HT: 11-24



Hawke's Bay 33 Counties Manukau 32


Fighting Counties Manukau spirit, in the face of a stunning first half for Hawke's Bay demonstrated yet again the beauty of the Ranfurly Shield, in Napier. First five-eighths Lincoln McClutchie got the scoring underway for the home team when running hard onto the ball from five-metre scrum to cross. The lineout driving maul proved an ally for the Bay in the half with hooker Kianu Kereru-Symes scoring. Wing Neria Fomai and flanker Solomone Funaki followed as the Bay went to the break up 28-6.


Did Hawke's Bay think they had done enough? Counties Manukau were not about to die wondering. They pulled a switch play in front of the Bay posts and first five-eighths Riley Hohepa flung a long pass to unmarked left-wing Ahsee Tuala to score. Wing Etene Nanai-Seturo thrived in the pressure. A stunning midfield break set up a try from a goal-line ruck for halfback Cam Roigard. Around the three-quarter mark, Bay replacement hooker Tyrone Thompson repeated the first half lineout driving try, and that proved crucial. Counties Manukau kept coming. Nanai-Seturo took a high ball near halfway, turned and broke ahead, chipped the ball forward, regathered and ran in to make it 33-25. Then pressure on the Bay line saw replacement Ioane Moananu go over after a tap penalty five metres out. But, as Counties Manukau looked to secure the restart, the ball was knocked on and the Bay were able to breath again.


Hawke's Bay 33 (Lincoln McClutchie, Kianu Kereru-Symes, Neria Fomai, Solomone Funaki, Tyrone Thompson tries; McClutchie 4 con) Counties Manukau 32 (Ahsee Tuala, Cam Roigard, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Ioane Moananu tries; Riley Hohepa 3 con, 2 pen). HT: 28-6



Otago 25 Tasman 19


First five-eighths Cameron Millar, a New Zealand Under-20 representative, cast his growing influence over Otago's performance at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Apart from landing five penalty goals, he showed his pace off the mark when splintering the Tasman defence in combination with Sam Gilbert to take the ball to the goal-line. After a series of goal-line rucks, the ball was spun wide for replacement back Ray Nu'u to score. Tasman's Alex Nankivell sped into gap and threw a long pass to wing Timoci Tavatanawai to get Tasman in try mode. While the scores were level just before the break, back chat provided Millar with a chance from 40m which he took.


Early in the second half he bettered that with a goal from 51m. Nu'u was in the action when he backhanded a pass to centre Thomas Umaga-Jensen, who ran 40m to score his try. Reduced to 14 when Nu'u was sin-binned for a ruck infringement, Tasman worked a lineout drive and hooker Quentin MacDonald was on the back of the maul to score. But with Millar landing his fifth penalty goal, Otago got beyond the seven-point margin to control the end of the game with Tasman only able to claim a loser's bonus point.


Otago 25 (Ray Nu'u, Thomas Umaga-Jensen tries; Cameron Millar 5 pen) Tasman 19 (Timoci Tavatanawai, Quentin MacDonald tries; Campbell Parata 3 pen). HT: 11-8



Northland 10 Waikato 16


It wasn't the prettiest of games in Whangarei on Saturday as the home team looked to build on their win over Taranaki in round one. But they made life difficult for the defending champions. Launching 18 phases, Northland showed outstanding patience at Semenoff Stadium before fullback Joshua Moorby, playing at halfback, burrowed through the Waikato defence to score the opening try in the fourth minute. Waikato were denied two first-half tries, to hooker Rhys Marshall and fullback Liam Coombes-Fabling, on the TMO's say so.


However, Marshall's opportunism paid off in the second half when, from a turnover penalty, he grabbed the ball, tapped it and ran in from 10m out catching all and sundry with their backs turned, to score. Northland indiscipline also proved costly as Waikato first five-eighths Damian McKenzie was able to kick three penalty goals to secure their six-point win.


Northland 10 (Joshua Moorby try; Rivez Reihana con, pen) Waikato 16 (Rhys Marshall try; Damian McKenzie con, 3 pen). HT: 10-6



Canterbury 43 Wellington 10


Wellington's initial foray to open the try-scoring in the fourth minute proved a false dawn. After an infringement when breaking the 10m line after a lineout, second five-eighths Rameka Pohipi was denied a try. Canterbury went to their driving maul to claim the lead after 18 minutes as hooker George Bell scored. Wellington momentarily reclaimed the lead through a penalty goal but Canterbury used a blindside play from a scrum to put wing George Bridge over to secure a half-time lead of 15-10.


Just before the three-quarter mark with no scoring the game was still alive, but Canterbury centre Dallas McLeod's intercept killed Wellington hopes when running 55m to score. That signalled a collapse in the visitors' effort. Canterbury No8 Cullen Grace went over easily from a scrum, Wellington halfback TJ Perenara was sin-binned with nine minutes left, Grace picked another ball out of a destroyed Wellington scrum to score his second and then halfback Willi Heinz pulled off another intercept try to complete Wellington's misery.


Canterbury 43 (George Bell, George Bridge, Dallas McLeod, Cullen Grace 2, Willi Heinz tries; Fergus Burke 4 con, pen; Alex Harford con) Wellington 10 (Pepesana Patafilo try; Jackson Garden-Bachop con, pen). HT: 15-10



Southland  23 Auckland 24


Auckland struggled with the reception they got in sunny Invercargill, scraping home with a one-point win two minutes into injury time. Unleashing superior forward power in the first half, Auckland scored through No8 Jackson Pugh at a pushover scrum, and enjoyed support from first five-eighths Harry Plummer's goal-kicking boot to lead 14-6 at the half.


Neither side was put off by a fire alarm resulting in the grandstand having to be emptied with fans having to move to the field before play resumed. Southland came back with its continuity play. Second five-eighths Scott Gregory took the ball to the line before it was released with his centres partner Isaac Te Tamaki stepping two defenders to score. First five-eighths Marty Banks' conversion pulled Southland back to 16-17. However, Salesi Rayasi found space on the left flank after getting ball from replacement back Jordan Trainor and had too much speed in running away to secure Auckland's win. Southland gained a loser's bonus point when replacement halfback Jakob Morrison sold a huge dummy at the base of an 18th phase ruck to run through and score on debut in the game's last act.


Southland 23 (Isaac Te Tamaki, Jakob Morrison tries; Marty Banks con, 3 pen; Greg Dyer con) Auckland (Jackson Pugh, Salesi Rayasi tries; Penalty try; Harry Plummer 2 con, pen). HT: 6-14



Bay of Plenty 46 Taranaki 6


Bay of Plenty heaped more misery on Taranaki who have now suffered two heavy losses in their first two outings, this time in Tauranga. The Bay forwards did the job in the first half. Low body positions close to the line led to Bay of Plenty's first two tries as they claimed a 17-6 lead at the turn through tries to lock Justin Sangster and prop Tevita Mafileo. Just in case Taranaki thought that was all the Bay's big men were capable of, blindside flanker Naitoa Ah Kuoi proved differently when on the end of a back line movement to go over in the corner.


That was when Bay of Plenty let their backs loose with second five-eighths Kaveinga Finau and wing Emoni Narawa crossing before replacement loose forward Nikora Broughton showed his class to break tackles and cross for the final try. Taranaki hardly fired an attacking shot.


Bay of Plenty 46 (Justin Sangster, Tevita Mafileo, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Kaveinga Finau, Emoni Narawa, Nikora Broughton tries; Kaleb Trask 4 con, 2 pen; W Hawera con) Taranaki 6 (J Potroz 2 pen). HT: 17-6



North Harbour 64 Manawatu 14


Manawatu struck North Harbour on the wrong day. Despite having plenty of first-half possession and spending a lot of time in North Harbour's 22, Manawatu only had a penalty try to show for their efforts. By comparison, North took chances as they occurred, utilising the tactical variations employed by first five-eighths Bryn Gatland. Complementing his work was fullback Shaun Stevenson who was in mischievous mood, chasing hard to secure kicks ahead, scoring a try, making outrageous passes through his legs, spending 10 minutes in the sin-bin and then finishing the game by adding three conversions.


Wing Tevita Li completed a hat-trick of tries by halftime while right-wing Mark Telea had to wait until two minutes of extra time to get his name on the scoreboard in North Harbour's nine-try haul.


North Harbour 64 (Tevita Li 3, Shaun Stevenson, Cameron Suafoa, Jay Fonokalafi, Jack Heighton, Siaosi Nginingini, Mark Telea tries; Bryn Gatland 4 con, pen; Stevenson 3 con; Alex Fidow con) Manawatu 14 (Penalty try; Tima Fainga'anuku try; Brett Cameron con). HT: 24-7



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