Canterbury secure home semi-final with dominant win
October 13, 2013
Canterbury enjoyed a crushing win over North Harbour to confirm a home semi-final
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Defending champions Canterbury wasted little time in confirming home advantage for their ITM Cup semi-final as they brushed past struggling second-division opponents North Harbour 38-0.
Before running out at Albany, Canterbury knew they would be playing Auckland in the first week of the Premiership play-offs next weekend, although the venue was still to be decided.
But four tries in a 15-minute period in the first half gave them the bonus point that ensured the match will be in Christchurch. The result means Auckland cannot improve on their third placing when they face Otago in a cross-over fixture on Sunday, although an upset win for the southerners will give them a home Championship semi-final.
North Harbour showed plenty of commitment to keep Canterbury scoreless for long periods. But they also hampered their efforts with simple mistakes and missed tackles.
After a scoreless first 18 minutes, winger Patrick Osborne was a key figure as Canterbury suddenly jumped out to a 24-0 lead despite facing a stiff breeze. Osborne had the first touchdown and then produced several big breaks that led to tries to first five-eighth Tyler Bleyendaal and winger Rob Thompson.
Flanker Luke Whitelock also made it onto the scoresheet in the opening spell, after it was Bleyendaal's turn to slice through the North Harbour defensive line.
The contest became scrappy in the second spell, before Canterbury blew out the margin with two late long-range tries to replacement backs Tom Taylor and Willi Heinz.
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