Can­ter­bury un­done

South Waikato News - - COMPETITION 2010 -

Waikato have se­cured a semi-fi­nal clash with old foes Auck­land af­ter em­bar­rass­ing Can­ter­bury at Waikato Sta­dium on Fri­day night.

The home side kept Can­ter­bury try­less in a 26-6 vic­tory that se­cured a semi-fi­nal berth.

Waikato were how­ever un­able to score a fourth try to pick up a home semi­fi­nal and will now travel to Auck­land on Fri­day to chase a fi­nals berth.

The last time Can­ter­bury failed to score a try was 12 months ago when they lost the Ran­furly Shield to South­land.

‘‘I thought the ef­fort out there was out­stand­ing,’’ said elated Waikato coach Chris Gibbes af­ter the match.

‘‘We knew all week that we were go­ing to have to be pretty good, be­cause they’re a good side.

‘‘When you play Can­ter­bury you’ve got to dom­i­nate up front, re­ally work hard up front, be­cause they don’t give you any­thing for free. But we stood up and kept on top of it and fi­nally came out on top.’’

It cer­tainly was a pow­er­ful for­ward ef­fort that saw Waikato dom­i­nate the scrums, get­ting one tight­head and twice screw­ing the Can­ter­bury scrum to win the put-in, as well as take the vis­i­tors head on in the area they are so good at the break­downs.

Be­hind that and an out­stand­ing de­fen­sive ef­fort that kept the Cantabs to just two first-half penalty goals from Colin Slade, young first-five Trent Re­nata stepped into Stephen Don­ald’s boots im­pres­sively, di­rect­ing play as­tutely, run­ning when he had to and kick­ing six out of seven for a 16-point haul.

‘‘That was a pretty spe­cial per­for­mance tonight from a young man, when ev­ery­one’s been talk­ing about [Don­ald] and rightly so.

‘‘He’s qui­etly gone about his work and pre­pared re­ally well this week and I think he’s shown tonight what he can do,’’ Gibbes said.

There were early signs of Waikato dom­i­nance when the home team soaked up the Can­ter­bury ball-in-hand at­tack and came back to put tremen­dous pres­sure on the vis­i­tors’ line to es­tab­lish a 16-6 half-time lead.

Re­nata made sure of his three penalty op­por­tu­ni­ties and No8 Alex Bradley capped a com­bat­ive first 40 min­utes with an im­pres­sive try, div­ing over the top of a ruck on the line af­ter half­back Mal­colm Barnes had been held up short.

It was a bruis­ing open­ing stanza with a lot of big de­fence from both sides and a cou­ple of front row flare­ups from scrums.

The home side sealed the deal 15 min­utes into the sec­ond spell when, on the top of con­stant pres­sure on the Can­ter­bury line, re­place­ment half­back Taw­era Kerr-Bar­low threw a ex­trav­a­gant no-look pass a mas­sive dis­tance to put full­back Sosene Anesi in for a try, which Re­nata con­verted then added a penalty goal for good mea­sure.

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