Trainor misses, Can­ter­bury win Shield

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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.

Photo: Zim­bio

Fi­jian flyer Iliesa Tavu­yara scores for Waikato against Can­ter­bury in Hamilton on Wed­nes­day.

Photo: Zim­bio

Can­ter­bury cap­tain Luke White­lock with Ran­furly Shield.

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