Taranaki con­quer Bay

Sunday News - - RUGBY - GLENN MCLEAN

TARANAKI have bro­ken a 44-year los­ing streak in Napier af­ter they heaped more mis­ery on Hawke’s Bay fol­low­ing a com­fort­able 48-17 Mitre 10 Cup win.

The win moved Taranaki up to sec­ond on the pre­mier­ship ta­ble while Hawke’s Bay re­main just a place off the foot of the cham­pi­onship ta­ble and ap­pear­ing a for­lorn hope of mak­ing the play-offs.

It was not as if Taranaki were at their best but it was more than enough to get past a Hawke’s Bay side that has won just once in 2017.

Con­trast that to Taranaki who moved past North Har­bour on the ta­ble as they get set for their busiest part of the sea­son.

Over­all it was sim­ply a case of Taranaki’s scrum be­ing too good, their at­tack be­ing bet­ter and Hawke’s Bay’s dis­ci­pline sim­ply not meet­ing a re­quired stan­dard, much like their over­all de­fence.

Ear­lier, both sides opted to turn down easy shots at goal in the first 10 min­utes and both failed to take ad­van­tage of ideal at­tack­ing po­si­tions as mis­takes and poor op­tion tak­ing coun­tered their in­tent.

Taranaki looked to have crossed first through Marty McKen­zie but the tele­vi­sion match of­fi­cial came up with a cor­rect rul­ing on a knock on.

The visi­tors con­tin­ued to blow sev­eral clear try scor­ing chances through their own in­abil­ity to take ad­van­tage of a dom­i­nant scrum, al­though they had an ar­gu­ment for a penalty try fol­low­ing a Hawke’s Bay in­fringe­ment.

The dead­lock was fi­nally bro­ken in the 25th minute af­ter Hawke’s Bay tight­head Pouri Rakete-Stones was yel­low carded for con­tin­ued team in­fringe­ments close to their line and Toa Halafihi scored fol­low­ing yet an­other scrum.

Taranaki then dou­bled their ad­van­tage when Marty McKen­zie won a foot race fol­low­ing a charge down be­fore Hawke’s Bay got back in the game with five min­utes left of the first half through a Cardiff Vaega try be­fore they were in again a minute later af­ter Ihaia West showed his quick turn of foot fol­low­ing a poor kick chase.

It was ar­guably more than they de­served given they spent 30 min­utes de­fend­ing but high­lighted Taranaki’s in­abil­ity to turn their dom­i­nance into a de­cent quota of points.

Taranaki’s scrum dom­i­nance con­tin­ued into the sec­ond half and Ricky Ric­citelli, fronting his for­mer prov­ince, made them pay fol­low­ing a McKen­zie penalty when he fell over the line fol­low­ing a 5m li­ne­out drive to ex­tend their lead to 22-10.

Hawke’s Bay ill-dis­ci­pline con­tin­ued to hurt them as they strug­gled to get out of their half or get hold of the ball as Taranaki banked a bonus point try when ref­eree Shane McDer­mott awarded a penalty try from an­other re­treat­ing scrum.

That ap­peared to sig­nal the end of Hawke’s Bay’s re­solve as Taranaki moved it up a gear to move ahead by 24 points be­fore the home side did cross through re­place­ment Jarvy Aoake.

It was a brief flir­ta­tion with op­ti­mism for the home fans be­cause their de­fence was again ex­posed late. GETTY IMAGES

Taranaki No 8 Toa Halafihi charges past Hawkes Bay half­back Brad We­ber last night.

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