Trainor misses, Canterbury win Shield
Hamilton: Jordan Trainor thought it was good.
Waikato’s fullback lined up the conversion for Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara’s 66th minute try, with the scores locked at 23-23 in Wednesday night’s Ranfurly Shield classic in Hamilton. Canterbury’s challenge was hanging in the balance, as Trainor, 20, teed up a shot at goal from the touchline, which would have given the Mooloos the lead in the final quarter of their seventh shield defence of the year. The Mooloo bells stopped ringing as a deathly hush swept across FMG Stadium Waikato.
The rain continued to fall as Trainor sweetly struck his effort with his right boot, forgetting the pain from his injured left ankle that’s kept him out of Waikato’s last two matches. The kick looked good, but groans echoed around Waikato as the ball struck the post. The rugby gods had spoken.
“I was staring at it and I thought it was going to go over,” said Trainor.
“But it just didn’t quite come round and hit the post.” Jordie Barrett then kicked two penalties in the final 10 minutes as Canterbury won the Log o’ Wood for the first time since 2011.
“It was a battle. The boys did well to hang in there but just right at the end, we couldn’t hold on,” added Trainor.
“We’re proud of the effort of the boys though. We really worked hard but just couldn’t get there in the end.”
Waikato’s reign ended after six successful defences in 2016, with three thrilling clashes in the Mitre 10 Cup against North Harbour, Manawatu and Taranaki. But Canterbury was a game too far, as the Mooloos succumbed to third defeat of the national provincial championship before they head to Whangarei to play Northland on Sunday, who are still looking for the first win since 2014.
Fijian flyer Iliesa Tavuyara scores for Waikato against Canterbury in Hamilton on Wednesday.
Canterbury captain Luke Whitelock with Ranfurly Shield.