Manawatu punish wasteful Stags
September 13, 2013
Manawatu secured their first back-to-back victories of the season, defeating Southland 27-17 in Palmerston North on Friday night.
After sending North Harbour home empty-handed last week, the Turbos took advantage of some questionable defence, running in three tries to Jason Emery, Papa Wharewera and Fraser Stone. Southland will rue the copious possession that was wasted due to poor ball security and support for their electric backs.
Tim Boys dotted down in the final quarter to bring the Stags to within seven points of leveling the scores but Manawatu's defence stood up and halted Willis Halaholo inches shy of landing the next blow.
Turbos fly-half Jade Te Rure was in fine form with the boot, converting all three tries and landing a pair of penalties. His second of the night allowed the Turbos to cruise home with a 10-point advantage in hand.
Manawatu leapfrogged Northland and Southland to fourth spot on the championship ladder with games still to be played in the round. Meanwhile, Southland must find the accuracy that abandoned them after they picked up their first win against Waikato last week.
Without captain Jamie Mackintosh (suspension), their pack lacked a hard edge and conceded a tighthead turnover in the final scrum of the match. The Turbos suffered a minor setback when Stags flanker John Hardie scored the first try from the back of a rolling maul. But from there on it was mainly one way traffic.
As holes began to emerge in Southland's defence, centre Emery was first to cash in when he finished off a lengthy break. Next was scrum-half Wharewera, who only had to fall over the line with the Stags defenders back-pedalling. After being held up over the line in the first half, Stone would not be denied the second time he muscled his way under the defence.
Trailing by two converted tries, Southland had to score next if they were to have any chance of coming back. And as Boys received a short pass from the ruck he could have walked into the in goal to register Southland's second try. But this was Manawatu's day. Some stoic defence stopped the Stags dead in their tracks when they came roaring back into attacking territory.
The turnover came as second-five Halaholo fell short of the line. Then a well-weighted kick forced Southland to defend a five-metre scrum. The Turbos were able to capitalise on that territory when Te Rure slotted his second penalty to give his side a 10-point lead that allowed them to run out the clock and grab four competition points.
Firdose Moonda talks to Rob Louw about the difficulties of being a South African touring New Zealand at the height of Apartheid
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games