At Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch: Canterbury 38 (Dominic Gardiner, Manasa Mataele, Tom Christie, Rameka Poihipi tries, penalty attempt; Alex Harford 4 con, purpose dropped) Auckland 20 (Salesi Rayasi, Jackson Pugh, Joel Cobb tries; Harry Plummer cheater, pen). HT: 21-10
Crimson card: Niko Jones (Auckland)
yellow playing cards: Blake Gibson (Auckland), Taufa Funaki (Auckland)
Canterbury hold going.
The Crimson and Black beat Auckland 38-20 in Christchurch on Friday night time and dealt their opponents’ house quarter-final hopes a big blow on an evening when Niko Jones was despatched off for a excessive shot at George Bridge within the dying minutes.
The Auckland defender was red-carded as he was carried off the sector after firing a scud shot at Bridge and the pair clashed within the ugly incident.
A protracted stoppage in play whereas Jones acquired medical consideration solely delayed the inevitable – Canterbury’s sixth straight bonus level, which additionally gave them house benefit for so long as they stayed alive within the competitors.
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* NPC wrap: Otago handed Waikato their first defeat of the season to maintain finals hopes alive
Younger pivot Alex Harford, making solely his second begin for Canterbury, was an excellent alternative for Fergus Burke (sickness), one of many crew’s greatest gamers heading into the sport.
The Christchurch Boys’ Excessive College outdated boy performed in a number of tries, made 4 conversions and drilled a purpose from 45 metres.
It was his offload in assist of Tamaiti Williams that sparked the break that led to Tom Christie’s Forty ninth-minute attempt that put the guests 31-10 up and basically ended Auckland’s possibilities.
Contemplate that they have been 10-0 down early and barely touched the ball within the first 25 minutes towards an Auckland aspect that had began so properly.
However they let themselves down with poor self-discipline on the night time Blake Gibson and Taufa Funaki have been proven yellow playing cards.
Gibson was fortunate to not obtain a pink card from referee Dan Waeng within the twelfth minute when he took a knee to Christie’s head.
The unfastened ahead, who took exception to Christie clinging to his leg, might but see the act re-examined by the foul committee.
Canterbury did not concede when he was off the sector, however the identical couldn’t be stated when Funaki spent 10 minutes within the basket for knocking the ball into the purpose within the thirty second minute.
The ensuing penalty attempt turned the sport round for Canterbury as they scored two extra tries earlier than the break.
Auckland appeared damaged.
Taking part in with out wonderful defender Adrian Choat (rested), they have been throughout Canterbury for the primary 25 minutes of the sport.
They harassed the hosts on the breakdown, disrupted their line-up, made life troublesome for them with intelligent kicking and repeatedly dragged out lengthy stretches of the sport collectively.
One in every of their lengthy runs led to Salesi Rayasi’s attempt within the third minute, an attractive set-up by Funaki with a intelligent kick for the pink and black.
Though Gibson was booked, the guests stored the warmth on, resulting in Harry Plummer’s Fifteenth-minute penalty and a 10-0 lead.
Canterbury, not helped by a collection of errors from full-back Chay Fihaki, appeared virtually like a crew that had gained 5 bonus factors in a row.
Nonetheless, with their scrum giving the Aucklanders an actual tickle, they quickly gained some possession and territory and put the guests underneath the pump.
After Funaki’s miss, Dominic Gardiner pounced on Plummer’s kick and pounced on the unfastened ball earlier than Manasa Mataele collected an attractive lengthy ball from Harford for a contact for a 21-10 lead on the break up.
It should have been Funaki’s light mind. It will definitely led to a penalty try to Canterbury scored two extra tries whereas within the basket.
Ranking of the match
7/10. A combined bag. Some high quality tries however too many errors and a win meant it by no means actually received going.
The massive image
Canterbury, with eight wins from 9 video games, are secure as homes with per week to go within the common season.
As for Auckland, they now have to observe their backs with North Harbour, Tasman and Northland watching them.
Take a bow, Alex Harford.
No Fergus Burke needed to trigger some Canterbury followers pre-match nervousness, just for the neat passing pivot to placed on a clinic on his second begin.