Turbos tumbledby a determined Taranaki
Think All Blacks vs Georgia. That 43 – 10 scoreline was almost replicated at the Oval on Saturday when Taranaki tumbled the Turbos 44 – 10, posting five converted tries in a comprehensive bonus point win.
While Manawatu scored first with an Otere Black penalty, Taranaki’s well-oiled machine soon had the Turbos going backwards and in all sorts of trouble.
Well structured forward movements and a working lineout, coupled with backs adept at draw and pass, had Taranaki in for two converted tries after 15 minutes.
Starved of ball, when the odd play did go the Turbos way, handling errors stopped any breakouts cold.
The only other sign of promise, a sweeping backline movement following a rare lineout win, resulted in the TMO ruling that a foot went into touch.
‘Almost tries’ don’t win matches and Taranaki’s dominance and clinical finishing showed their opponents exactly how it’s done with a third try that left the Turbos 24 – 3 adrift at the break.
The Turbos came out firing after the half, and were rewarded with a try to Callum Gibbons. Any hopes though of a green and white resurgence on the back of this effort were snuffed out by a more efficient outfit that always had the Turbos’ measure. Taranaki were able to run in two more tries, while Manawatu botched its only other opportunity.
The local cause wasn’t helped by lack of organisation in defence and weak tackling.
Taranaki were able to move the ball from one side of the park to the other with relative ease.
Their ability to read the game and nullify any counter plays hardly ever let the Turbos out of second gear.
The result means Manawatu remain bottom of the Premiership division and in the last round of the competition, face second placed Championship side Wellington in the capital next Saturday.
Posting a 31 – 13 win over Bay of Plenty on Sunday, Wellington will be eying its chances of getting back into the ITM Cup’s top tier.
Wellington have beaten Taranaki, but stumbled with losses to Tasman and Otago and with a draw to Hawkes Bay.
Story of the ball game. Taranaki full-back Kurt Baker outpaces Turbos halfback Toby Morland to score Taranaki’s second try.