Can­ter­bury back on track as Manawatu sent pack­ing

Sunday Star-Times - - SPORT - ROBERT VAN ROYEN

Can­ter­bury have got their Farah Palmer Cup cam­paign back on track with a com­fort­able 40-10 win against Manawatu in Christchurch.

At the bot­tom of the premier­ship af­ter last week­end’s flog­ging at the hands of Auck­land, the red and blacks des­per­ately needed a bounce back per­for­mance.

Led by full­back Grace Brooker’s brace, that’s ex­actly what they did with a bonus-point win at Lin­field Park yes­ter­day.

Wing Me­lanie Puck­ett also dot­ted down in her first na­tional pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onship match, while mid­fielder Lucy An­der­son and flanker Ni­cole Pur­dom ac­counted for the other tries.

First five-eighth Charn­tay Poko added 13 points (three penal­ties and two con­ver­sions) off the tee.

Manawatu’s for­wards must have all had a good taste of the Lin­field Park turf by the end of the game, hav­ing been re­peat­edly buried at scrum time.

It was a bru­tal dis­play from the red and blacks, who led 28-0 at half­time af­ter Puck­ett got on the end of a smart grub­ber kick by lock Estelle Uren to score out wide.

It fol­lowed An­der­son’s early try and Brooker’s sparkling 50m dash to the line.

Can­ter­bury botched a num­ber of chances and will no doubt need to be much more clin­i­cal when they travel north to play de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Coun­ties Manukau, fresh from beat­ing Auck­land 36-12 yes­ter­day, next week­end.

The Wayne Love-coached Cantabri­ans were also sloppy in the sec­ond half, par­tic­u­larly with their dis­ci­pline, as the Cy­clones wasted lit­tle time get­ting on the board through cen­tre Janna MichalVaughan.

A rare botched li­ne­out throw then led to the vis­i­tors’ sec­ond try, an elec­tric run down the left-hand side by Black Ferns full­back Sel­ica Wini­ata.

But the home side was not done scor­ing it­self. Brooker com­bined with Puck­ett to dive over in­side the left-hand cor­ner flag, be­fore Pur­dom crashed over out wide in the clos­ing min­utes. Re­sults: Can­ter­bury 40 Manawatu 10, Coun­ties Manukau 36 Auck­land 12, Welling­ton 11 Waikato 5, Otago 39 Hawke’s Bay 17, Bay of Plenty 34 North Har­bour 12.

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