The upsets continue in the Mitre 10 Cup

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Having taken the Shield from Canterbury on Saturday a week earlier, Taranaki held the trophy for eight days, the fourth shortest tenure in the Shield's history.

 

As a result, the result sets up an early contest between the two unbeaten sides of the Championship, Otago and Hawke's Bay, in Round Four of competition next week.

 

Canterbury suffered a second loss within a week when beaten in Napier by Hawke's Bay while Northland continued Counties Manukau's losing run by claiming a 24-15 win in Pukekohe.

 

Tasman maintained their pace-setting role with a 34-17 win over Waikato to remain four points clear of Wellington in the Premiership, with Auckland and Waikato a point back on 10 points while Canterbury is on seven.

 

Hawke's Bay and Otago have 10 points each in the Championship while Southland, Northland and Taranaki are one point back.

 

Wellington v Bay of Plenty

 

If Christchurch has proved New Zealand's first five-eighths factory in recent decades, then Wellington can lay claim to the hooker's factory as debut player Tyrone Thompson pulled off a stunning try at SKY Stadium. Taking a return throw from a lineout on halfway, he raced through tackles to score 50m downfield. Shoddiness in the first phases of the game had given Bay of Plenty an early boost with a try to hooker Nathan Vella 35 seconds after the start. It took 30 minutes before Wellington recovered but two tries before halftime to No.8 Teariki Ben-Nicholas and wing Wes Goosen. Then Ben-Nicholas scored a second before Thompson's effort which was backed by another debut scorer, wing Ruben Love.

Wellington 32 (Teariki Ben-Nicholas 2, Wes Goosen, Tyrone Thompson, Ruben Love tries; Jackson Garden-Bachop 2 con, pen) Bay of Plenty 10 (Nathan Vella try; Dan Hollinshead con, pen). HT: 12-10

Tasman v Waikato

 

Waikato made much of the early running in Nelson but it was a David Havili intercept and 80-metre run that saw Tasman score first. Waikato came back with a lovely take by centre Quinn Tupaea from a chip kick from first five-eighths Fletcher Smith to the Tasman line. But then, in one of those moments of frustration that can turn games, Tasman had the benefit of a line call on a lineout throw which produced a try on halftime for hooker Andrew Makalio. Tasman poured on the pressure in the third quarter with Andrew Nankiville and Havili scoring before Tasman struck back through replacement wing Valynce Crosby-Te Whare and Smith. But it was Havili who had the final say in scoring an outstanding hat-trick try.

 

Tasman 34 (David Havili 3, Andrew Makalio, Alex Nankiville tries; Mitch Hunt 3 con, pen) Waikato 17 (Quinn Tupaea, Valynce Crosby-Te Whare, Fletcher Smith tries; Smith con). HT: 13-5

Southland v North Harbour

 

After North Harbour flanker Tim Sail marked his debut with an early try, running a line from first receiver to pierce the home defence, Southland had to wait until the 56th minute before reducing the margin to two with a try to wing Rory van Vugt. With a hint of a rare crossover win against a Premiership opponent, skipper and No.8 Tony Lamborn stepped up with an outstanding demonstration of his leadership qualities, and the last crucial turnover, to spearhead a Southland defensive effort that squeezed the life out of the Harbour challenge. There was an exchange of penalty goals between the five-eighths Bryn Gatland and Scott Eade and while North Harbour looked to close out their 10-8 lead heading into the final moments, Lamborn managed his turnover and after clawing their way into North Harbour territory, an infringement provided home replacement first five-eighths Greg Dyer with a penalty goal chance and he made no mistake.

 

Southland 11 (Rory van Vugt try; Scott Eade pen; Greg Dyer pen) North Harbour 10 (Tim Sail try; Bryn Gatland con, pen). HT: 0-7

 

Hawke's Bay v Canterbury

 

Enjoying the advantage of greater possession in the first half, Hawke's Bay got out to a 10-0 lead at McLean Park in Napier, but Canterbury used their lineout to advantage to get hooker Shilo Klein over for their first try two minutes into the second half and by the end of the third quarter they led 19-10 after tries to halfback Enari Ereatara and fullback Josh McKay, who was fed into a lovely gap by wing Ngatungane Punivai on the halfway line to run in the try. But some clever thinking by Lowe at the base of a ruck on the Canterbury line saw him score. Into injury time, Hawke's Bay had a lineout out from the Canterbury line and with just about all the team joining the driving maul, it was captain and hooker Ash Dixon who smuggled the ball over the line for the match-winning try.

 

Hawke's Bay 20 (Lolagi Visinia, Jonah Lowe, Ash Dixon tries; Lincoln McClutchie con, pen) Canterbury 19 (Shilo Klein, Sam Darry, Josh McKay tries; Brett Cameron 2 con). HT: 10-0

Auckland v Manawatu

 

Auckland got their campaign back on track when taking a 50-12 win over Manawatu at Eden Park on Sunday. Manawatu didn't help their cause when having two men Teofilo Paulo and Tietie Taimauga in the sin-bin for two minutes. Wing Adam Boult scored during that period for Manawatu but in the meantime Auckland crossed twice as wing AJ Lam scored first followed by No.8 Waimana Reidlinger-Kapa. The further the game went the more Auckland's support play came into effect, first five-eighths Simon Hickey's two tries and another to fullback Jordan Trainor being classic examples of that. And replacement halfback Jonathon Ruru may never have a better result from a botched box kick which ended up falling nicely for Lam to run 40m for his second try.

 

Auckland 50 (AJ Lam 2, Waimana Reidlinger-Kapa, Simon Hickey 2, Salesi Rayasi, Blake Gibson, Jordan Trainor tries; Hickey 5 con) Manawatu 12 (Adam Boult, Kyle Stewart tries; Ben Wyness con). HT: 26-5

Taranaki v Otago

 

Ranfurly Shield lore maintains that if challengers are to be successful in their bids to secure the prized trophy they need to start well and maintain that lead for the remainder of the game. Otago managed that, getting out to a 22-5 lead in the first half. No 8 Dylan Nel, wing Freedom Vaha'akolo and hooker Liam Coltman all scored tries with the only response coming from home fullback Stephen Perofeta's try. Taranaki were forced into a defensive role in the first half but they were unable to halt Otago's momentum. And when they did get some traction in the second half, it was too late, especially after Otago first five-eighths Josh Ioane was able to slip easily through a gap to score. Otago will now face a challenge from Hawke's Bay next weekend.

 

Taranaki 19 (Stephen Perofeta, Kaylum and Lachlan Boshier tries; Jayson Potroz con; Daniel Waite con) Otago 30 (Dylan Nel, Freedom Vaha'akolo, Liam Coltman, Josh Ioane tries; Ioane 2 con, 2 pen). HT: 5-22

Counties Manukau v Northland

 

The pain for Counties Manukau continues as it remains winless in the Championship after going down 15-24 to Northland at Pukekohe on Sunday. Counties Manukau had a 12-3 lead at halftime but an intercept by veteran centre Rene Ranger seemed to lift the Northland side, as they ran in three tries in a 20-minute burst to lock Temo Mayanavanua, hooker Jordan Olsen and wing Pisi Leilua to which the home side could only reply with a Baden Kerr penalty goal. There was still time to secure a win heading into the final 10 minutes but vigorous Northland defence, not least when a series of scrums on the line were held out for the visitors to drive Counties Manukau back into their own territory for the final moments.

 

Counties Manukau 15 (Kieran Read, A Motuga tries; Baden Kerr con, pen) Northland 24 (T Mayanavanua, J Olsen, P Leilua tries; Dan Hawkins 3 con, pen). HT: 12-3

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