Canterbury reign supreme in the Farah Palmer Cup

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Kendra Cocksedge, in her 100th and final appearance for Canterbury, put an exclamation mark on her peerless career with a personal haul of 21 points. 

 

Assisted by a stiff second-half breeze, Cocksege capalited on her forwards dommaince with astute tactical kicking, three penalty goals, and a 40-metre intercept in the 55th minute when the score was 26-7.

 

It was a masterclass to rival her 2018 final performance where she scored 27 points against Counties Manukau. 

 

Against the wind, Canterbury started like a freight train to lead 10-0 after five minutes. Wing Martha Mataele has scored a try in every game this season and continued her streak while hooker Georgia Ponsonby wasn’t going to be denied from close range after relentless phase attack.

 

Black Ferns first-five and captain Ruahei Demant was incisive throughout and when she cut through in the ninth minute the visitors were only down 10-7. 

Canterbury’s lineout wasn’t always reliable, but their scrum was irresistible as Auckland’s discipline wilted.

 

Despite occasional threat from outside backs Mele Hufanga, Silva Brunt and Patricia Maliepo, a Cocksege penalty had Canterbury ahead 13-7 at halftime.

 

Canterbury was ruthless and precise in the second-half. Loosehead prop Pip Love, celebrating her 50th game, drove over for a try and Black Ferns centre Amy Du Plessis was illusive and capped a super season with a well taken opportunity at the hour mark.

 

Openside Lucy Jenkins recently graduated from University. The tigerish openside eclipsed the century barrier for tackles, the only player in the competition to do so. 

 

Roise Kelly flourished at fullback and her versatility and vibrance might be appealing to the national selectors.  

 

The Bremner sisters were hard to tell apart with their constant hustle. 

The Auckland forwards were outmuscled but loosehead Chryss Viliko has had a compelling season and flanker Liana Mikaele-Tu'u is finding her feet again after injury.

 

Canterbury have enjoyed unbeaten Premiership winning seasons in 2019, 2020 and 2022. Since 2017 they have won 43 of their last 46 games.

 

Their most capped player Stephanie Te Ohaere Fox retires aged 37 and with 113 caps on her resume. She played 24 tests for the Black Ferns between 2008 and 2014, winning a World Cup in 2010.

Canterbury 41 (Martha Mataele, Georgia Ponsonby, Pip Love, Kendra Cocksedge, Amy Du Plessis tries; Cocksedge 4 pen, 2 con) Auckland 14 (Ruahei Demant, Cilia Marie Po’e-Tofaeono tries; Sophie Fisher con, Patricia Maliepo con). HT: 13-7