Can­ter­bury too strong

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Christchurch: ti­tle. Can­ter­bury won their eighth na­tional pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onship ti­tle since 2008, af­ter beat­ing Tas­man 43-27 in the Mitre 10 Cup premier­ship fi­nal in Christchurch last night. The win en­sured Cru­saders bound head coach Scott Robert­son signed off in per­fect style, win­ning a third ti­tle since tak­ing over as Can­ter­bury coach in 2013. It was heart­break for Tas­man, who fell short at the fi­nal hur­dle for the sec­ond time in three years, hav­ing lost the 2014 de­cider to Taranaki. Tas­man more than played their part in a free-flow­ing fi­nal, but ul­ti­mately they couldn’t deny Can­ter­bury their 13th ti­tle. Only Auck­land (16) has won more. Play­ing with­out in­jured cen­tre Jack Good­hue, Can­ter­bury outscored Tas­man six tries to three and took a 22-13 lead into half­time. They led for all but a few min­utes of the match and didn’t waste any time ex­tend­ing their lead af­ter the break, as sec­ond five-eighth Rob Thomp­son, play­ing in his first game in six weeks, pow­ered over in An­other year, an­other the 45th minute from close range. Tas­man had to go with­out vet­eran lock Alex Ain­ley for the first 10 min­utes of the sec­ond half, af­ter he was carded for a neck-roll on Can­ter­bury full­back Johnny McNi­choll at the end of the first half. Marty Banks con­verted to shut the gap to 29-20, but stand­out Can­ter­bury No 10 Richie Mo’unga went through a gap a few mo­ments later to can­cel out Tas­man’s try. How­ever, Tas­man re­fused to go down with­out a fight and coun­ter­punched yet again, as re­place­ment hooker Jesse Mac­Don­ald went over with his first touch of the game. But that was as good as it got, as Can­ter­bury re­place­ment flanker Billy Har­mon sealed the game with a well worked try down the other end. AT A GLANCE Can­ter­bury 43 (Dave McDul­ing, Nathan Earle, Richie Mo’unga 2, Rob Thomp­son, Billy Har­mon tries; Jordie Bar­rett 5 con, 1 pen) Tas­man 27 (Shan­non Frizell, Billy Guy­ton, Jesse Mac­Don­ald tries; Marty Banks 2 pen, 3 con) HT: 22-13. - Stuff

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