Terrifric Taniwha stay in the hunt
PERENNIAL strugglers Northland have given themselves a solid chance of making the Mitre 10 Cup Championship semifinals.
They beat Hawke’s Bay 34-7 in their round eight clash at Toll Stadium in Whangarei yesterday, getting the rewards for daring to take a risk with some of their attacking play.
It didn’t always come off, but it did often enough for them to score four tries to one, and pick up their fifth win of the season, and a bonus point to boot.
With a win in the final round, where they play the runaway Championship leaders, Wellington, on Thursday, they will make the semifinals, while they could advance even with a loss, depending on how other matches unfold.
As things stand, they sit second on the ladder, with 25 points from nine games, behind Wellington, and ahead of Bay of Plenty (23 from nine), Manawatu (22 from eight), and Otago (21 from nine).
But with four teams jammed up tight behind Wellington, and only three semifinal places on offer to them, the Taniwha could yet be cruelly denied.
Their first try came just three minutes in, when they won a lineout, following a strong run by Solomon Alaimalo down the left wing.
From the throw, 5m out, they shovelled the ball to the right, where flanker Dan Pryor found himself with a massive gap to run into and score. First-five Peter Breen slotted the conversion, to give his side an early 7-0 lead and that set the tone for an afternoon of attacking rugby.
Northland went hunting a fourth try, and a crucial bonus point, as the clock wound down, and they got it with no time to spare, when Tim Bond dived over at the end of a 13-phase attack.