Turbos trounce the Taniwha
Victory at last! The Turbos dealt the Northland Taniwha a six-try-to-two thumping at the Oval on Sunday afternoon.
Bottom of the Premiership table, Manawatu desperately needed a win after five straight losses, to restore credibility and self-belief.
At the wrong end of the Championship table, and with no points, Northland may have sensed that Manawatu coming off a heavy schedule of games against Canterbury and Auckland, was ripe for the plucking. Noting Manawatu’s penchant for poor starts, the Taniwha attacked from the kick-off, and scrapped for ball throughout to be rewarded with a try in each half.
However, it was the Turbos who scored first. After turning down a penalty shot, fullback Semisi Masirewa finished the movement with the first try. That was followed by a terrific chase to the dead-ball line won by wing Nathan Tudreu, and a classy pick-and-go try to Heiden Bedwell-Curtis.
Manawau then found themselves in the unfamiliar position of leading 21-7 at the break.
Manawatu’s big winger was in again soon after battle recommenced, and played a hand in the try to prop Michael Alaalatoa. Lock Valentino Mapapalangi then crossed for the sixth. First-five Otere Black converted five of these tries seemingly at will from all over the park, with replacement Sam Malcolm slotting the last.
Showing more of the urgency displayed during the second half of the 45-28 loss to Auckland mid-week, Sunday’s game was a huge improvement in effort, and showed off a team with huge attacking potential.
It wasn’t perfect; the Turbos messing up two or three further try-scoring opportunities. Over-eagerness and handling errors let players down at vital moments, while one of the team’s defensive lapses gifted Northland its second try.
Sunday’s bonus point win bumps Manawatu temporarily off the bottom of the Premiership table, one point ahead of Counties-Manukau who lost to North Harbour at the weekend
Manawatu’s next two matches are must-wins against Championship sides – fifth-placed Southland at Invercargill this Saturday, with the next home game in the evening against fourth-placed North Harbour the following Saturday 26.
Man of the Match Semisi Masirewa jinks his way through a couple of Taniwha defenders during Sunday’s ITM Cup game at the Oval.