Taniwha torment well-beaten Magpies
A win over Hawke’s Bay has given perennial strugglers Northland a solid chance of making the Mitre 10 Cup Championship semifinals.
They beat the Magpies 34-7 in their round eight clash at Toll Stadium in Whangarei on Saturday, 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.
As things stand, they sit second on the ladder, with 25 points from nine games, behind Wellington (37 from eight), and ahead of Bay of Plenty (23 from nine), Manawatu¯ (22 from eight), and Otago (21 from nine).
Their first try against the Magpies 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, but they found themselves in trouble on the quarter-hour mark, when halfback Sam Nock was sent to the sin bin for an intentional foul at a ruck.
Two minutes later, the Magpies struck back, as first-five Ihaia West played a delicate grub- ber kick in behind, and found Cardiff Vaega running through, who pounced on the ball to make it 7-all, once West added the extras.
From then to halftime, how- ever, it was all Northland, even while they were a man down.
Dan Pryor scored his second, again from a lineout, but this time after a rolling maul, which first went left, then right, before overpowering Hawke’s Bay and getting to the line.
As the second half began, Northland held a 10-point lead, 17-7, and after absorbing a bit of pressure, they managed to break through, as centre Rene Ranger scored a five-pointer.
Hawke’s Bay had a chance to hit back in the 70th minute, when Vaega ran on to another kick, but he knocked on as he tried to dot the ball down.
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.
(Dan Pryor 2, Ranger, Bond tries; Breen 2 con, pen, Hawkins 2 con, pen)
(Vaega try; West con).
Dan Pryor (right) had a big game for Northland in their win over Hawke’s Bay. ‘‘The Magpies struck back, as first-five Ihaia West played a delicate grubber kick in behind, and found Cardiff Vaega running through.’’