Auckland to face Canterbury in ITM decider
October 20, 2012
Auckland celebrate Hadleigh Parkes' try © Getty Images
Canterbury will face Auckland in the ITM Cup Premiership final after a thrilling set of semi-finals.
Auckland upset the odds by beating Wellington 33-22 at Westpac Stadium to make their first final since 2007, with Malakai Fekitoa scoring a brace of tries.
Gareth Anscombe kicked Auckland into a 9-8 half-time lead after Ross Filipo had crossed for the Lions. Fekitoa, Pauliasi Manu and Hadleigh Parkes all scored for the visitors in the second period, giving them the win despite the efforts of Mark Reddish and Ardie Savea.
Canterbury booked their spot with a 51-27 victory over Taranaki after extra time. All Blacks Wyatt Crockett and George Whitelock did the damage in the latter stages, with Crockett finishing with a double.
Taranaki have shown plenty of quality all season and scored tries through James Marshall, Jason Eaton, Chris Walker and Seta Tamanivalu, with Matt Todd and Jordan Taufua complementing the kicking of Tom Taylor to round out a win for Canterbury.
In the Championship, Counties Manukau progressed to the final after beating Southland 48-23 although focus after the game was on the health of Southland's Hoani Macdonald, who suffered a cardiac arrest during the opening period.
The Steelers will face Otago in the decider after the southerners defeated Tasman 41-34 thanks to tries from Jackson Hemopo, Adam Thomson, Fumiaki Tanaka and Tony Ensor.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September