Taniwha suffer heavy defeat
Northland 28 Waikato 71 (HT 7-38): Waikato gave the Taniwha an old-fashioned hiding in the penultimate round of the regular season of the Mitre 10 Cup Championship division at Toll Stadium on Saturday.
The brickbats were quick in coming with Northern Advocate reporter Imran Ali being particularly scathing about the homeside performance by describing the manner in which Northland conceded 71 points at home — “almost a point a minute” — as “humiliating”.
“This is not the style of rugby Northlanders want,” Ali noted in his review of the rout.
“They [Waikato] opted for direct running knowing there was every opportunity Northland would fall off tackles and the Taniwha did just that . . . It all boils down to sloppy defence and goodness knows how many training sessions Northland will need to get that right.”
It was the 75th time the two sides have clashed since 1926, with Waikato claiming 47 wins to Northland’s 26 and two draws. The result represented revenge for Waikato which lost the previous encounter 37-7 in Whanga¯rei in September last year.
Saturday’s game featured plenty of curtain-raising entertainment Kerikeri halfback Sam Nock (pictured here in a file photo) scored a try for Northland in the 71-28 loss at home to Waikato at Toll Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
including the Northland police vs Northpower team followed by an “all-action police scenario” involving helicopters, dogs and shenanigans just before the main game kicked off.
This latest result has added to the recent run of extremely mixed form by the Taniwha. This includes the hard-fought 24-20 win over Counties Manukau in Pukekohe the previous Sunday, and the 55-41 away loss to Hawke’s Bay in Napier in week 7 on Wednesday, September
26. Northland now have a win/ loss record of 4-5 in this national provincial competition campaign, while Waikato sits atop the lower tier championship standings with a six win — three loss record.
Despite this, Northland has still qualified for a semi-final sport courtesy of the bonus point they earned against Waikato (for scoring four tries).
The Taniwha prepare to play Bay of Plenty, currently fifth in the Championship, this Saturday. Waikato, meanwhile, prepare to host Otago in Hamilton in a Ranfurly Shield challenge match.
The Northland rugby community was disappointed Jack Goodhue never got to play for the All Blacks against the Springboks on Sunday morning.
The All Blacks came from behind 13-30 to post a 32-30 over the ’Boks in Pretoria, South Africa. Despite having been named in the starting line up, Goodhue was unable to play a part in proceedings after contracting a virus.
The Kawakawa-born player has received plenty of good press lately, with some commentators describing him as the future of the All Blacks and noting his selection showed he is now the first choice for the No 13 jersey ahead of Ryan Crotty as the build-up for next year’s World Cup begins.
Most notable has been the high praise from All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, who believes the 23-year-old Bay of Islands player is a perfect fit for the midfield alongside Sonny Bill Williams: “For a young guy, he’s got an old head.
“He plays really maturely, he’s a traditional centre.
“He’s a good reader on defence and he’s got a bit of gas as well.”