Waikato move to top of Premiership

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They are two points clear of Hawke's Bay who enjoyed their own thumping win 31-28 over Wellington at SKY Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

 

Tasman has a share of third with Canterbury who needed a golden point penalty goal to claim a 19-16 win over Championship side Southland in Invercargill.

 

In the Championship, Taranaki moved nine points clear with 18 points from their four games.

 

Manawatu moved into second place with a fine 31-19 win over Northland at Palmerston North.

 

Tasman 22 Waikato 39

 

Signs were ominous for Tasman when Waikato lock Lachlan McWhannell was able to make an early midfield run darting from the base of a ruck like a halfback to take play 50m downfield. Tasman survived that but untidy play when a poor long pass went to ground saw Waikato fullback Matt Lansdown run down ball that was toed ahead to score. More untidy ball allowed centre Bailyn Sullivan to clear out down field for wing Liam Coombes-Fabling to fly in, literally, at the corner. Ahead 15-3 at the turn, second five-eighths Gideon Wrampling extended Waikato's lead when fed into a gap to score. Finally, the Tasman recovery came from wing Leicester Fainga'auku who scored. However, Waikato halfback Cortez Ratima opened up the close defence around a ruck to score his side's fourth try. Flanker Shannon Frizell and hooker Andrew Makalio got tries for Tasman while Waikato were down to 14 men, but it was Waikato who had the final say with Coombes-Fabling scoring his second.

 

Tasman 22 (Leicester Fainga'anuku, Shannon Frizell, Andrew Makalio tries; Mitch Hunt 2 con, pen) Waikato 39 (Matthew Lansdown, Liam Coombes-Fabling 2, Gideon Wrampling, Cortez Ratima tries; Fletcher Smith 4 con, 2 pen). HT: 3-15

 

 

Manawatu 31 Northland 19

 

It's handy having one of the best distributors in the game to call on, and Manawatu revelled in halfback Aaron Smith's presence in Palmerston North. It was his long pass, just out from his 22m area, that resulted in wing Ed Fidow having the space to put his speed, and bunt, to ability to score their first try from 60m out. Centre Tima Fainga'anuku split Northland's defence, linked with second five-eighths Josiah Maraku who had No8 Brayden Iose inside for a short pass. It was 59 minutes before Northland got on the board by which time Manawatu had the game safe with 26 points of their own thanks also to the accurate goal-kicking of first-five Brett Cameron. Wing Joni Macilai-Tori scored Northland's first try with replacement Jonah Mau'u capping a length of the field move with the second. But a flawed cross-kick in their own 22m area resulted in Manawatu wing Taniela Filimone taking the ball and stretching for their third try.

 

Manawatu 31 (Ed Fidow, Brayden Iose, Taniela Filimone tries; Brett Cameron 2 con, 4 pen) Northland 19 (Jona Macilai-Tori, Jonah Mau'u, Kaliopasi Uluilakepa tries; Johnny Cooper 2 con). HT: 20-0

 

 

Southland 16 Canterbury 19

 

Down through the years Southland has a rich history at home against Canterbury and they came within an ace of claiming another memorable win, only to lose to a golden point penalty goal. Fullback Josh Moorby got Southland moving with a well-taken try to pierce the Canterbury defence. But penalties conceded were fodder for Canterbury first five-eighths Fergus Burke and when prop Chris Apoua was sin-binned midway through the second half, Canterbury pounced and from the penalty lineout lock Luke Romano had too much strength in the maul and got the ball down. First five-eighths Marty Banks got Southland level with penalty goals but moments from the end had a chance to put them in front but missed. The game went to extra time and five minutes later Burke took a penalty chance after the Canterbury scrum got an edge to claim the win.

 

Southland 16 (Josh Moorby try; Marty Banks con, 3 pen) Canterbury 19 (Luke Romano try; Fergus Burke con, 4 pen). HT: 10-9. FT: 16-16

 

 

Wellington 28 Hawke's Bay 31

 

Don't be fooled by the final scoreline in this game. Hawke's Bay had this from early on, running up a 24-3 lead by halftime, initially through the power of their lineout drive but then on the back of some thrilling running play that provided tries for wing Jonah Lowe and fullback Lolagi Visinia. Wellington did look dangerous when second five-eighths Peter Umaga-Jensen started to cut loose in the second, making outstanding breaks in the lead-ups to centre Vince Aso's try and the first of the two scored by replacement forward Tyrone Thompson. But killing off any possible threat, Hawke's Bay scored through replacement Solomone Funaki to ensure Wellington ran out of time to attempt to pull back the win.

 

Wellington 28 (Vince Aso, Tyrone Thompson 2 tries; Aidan Morgan 3 pen; Ruben Love 2 con) Hawke's Bay 31 (Ash Dixon, Jonah Lowe, Lolagi Visinia, Solomone Funaki tries; Lincoln McClutchie 3 con, pen; Tiann Falcon con). HT: 3-24

 

 

Bay of Plenty 28 Taranaki 55

 

Taranaki got the bit between their teeth early in the second half, and while Bay of Plenty responded, initially with a try to prop Aidan Ross, the momentum was all with the amber and blacks who got out to a 24-7 lead at the turn. They took time to settle in the second half but in a seven-minute mid-spell burst they extended their lead to 41-7 before the BOP beast stirred. Seven tries were scored between the two teams in a hectic last 27 minutes but it was Taranaki who couldn't be contained to claim a handy advantage on the Championship points table. A feature of the game was that of the 11 tries scored, all were converted with Stephen Perofeta landing seven and Otere Black four.

 

Bay of Plenty 28 (Aidan Ross, S Tanimo, Pasilo Tosi, Chase Tiatia tries; Otere Black 4 con) Taranaki 55 (Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens 2, Logan Crowley, Kini Naholo, Vereniki Tikoisolomone 2, Liam Blyde tries; Stephen Perofeta 7 con, 2 pen). HT: 7-24