Wellington storm to win
Not even seemingly unbeatable Canterbury are immune from the quick backup in rugby’s Mitre 10 Cup.
Four days after topping 70 points in a Ranfurly Shield defence against Counties Manukau, the runaway red-andblacks were given some capital punishment by Wellington to wrap up week five.
Captained by Julian Savea for the first time, Wellington produced a stunning 60-14 win over Canterbury as a storm whipped through Westpac Stadium on Sunday.
A long-range Savea try from a Jackson Garden-bachop intercept, then a stunner from hooker-of-the-moment Asafo Aumua, saw Wellington lead 17-7 at halftime before two chargedown tries saw them bolt to 31-7 with 30 minutes left.
While his side were at times lacking direction in their latest contest, they managed to march on to a fourth win from five
starts, secure a bonus point, and sit third on the premiership ladder.
One point ahead of the Naki are the five-from-five North Harbour, who got out of jail for a 31-22 win over Northland in Whangarei on Thursday night.
Harbour had been well below what they had showed prior in this campaign, but, even after trailing 22-17 with seven minutes to play, managed to keep their unbeaten start to the season intact, as Ben Volavola sliced through, then Matt Vaega plucked an intercept for a 40-metre runaway.
Waikato are next to challenge
Canterbury for the shield but their form has tailed off big time after losing a third straight game - 23-10 to championship side Manawatu¯ in Hamilton.
The Mooloos led 10-3 nearing the hour-mark, but a try off the back of a powerful scrum from Hamish Brewer - son of former All Black Mike - then the boot of Jade Te Rure guided the Turbos to victory, and into fourth spot on the championship ladder.
Waikato, having played one more game than the three teams above them, now sit fifth in the premiership, and even Auckland are only now three points back, after they notched just their second win from six starts in a 27-17 result over Southland in Invercargill on Friday night.
The hosts opened the scoring after just three minutes, but they remain the only winless team in the competition - rooted to the bottom of the championship ladder on zero points - as All Blacks flanker Jerome Kaino got the visitors’ account started, with Auckland going on to collect the bonus point.
Tasman climbed into fourth spot on the premiership ladder after holding on for a dramatic 29-27 win over Otago in Dunedin on Saturday.
The Makos were up 29-13 early in the second spell thanks to referee Mike Fraser awarding a penalty try and sin-binning Otago first five-eighth Josh Ioane for an intentional knockdown.
In the early game yesterday, Counties Manukau rebounded from their midweek thrashing to score five tries, including a Tim Nanai-williams double, to beat struggling Hawke’s Bay 33-14.