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ITM Cup - Round 11
Cantebury reclaim Ranfurly Shield
ESPNscrum Staff
October 10, 2010
Canterbury celebrate claiming the Ranfurly Shield, Southland v Canterbury, ITM Cup, Rugby Park, Invercargill, New Zealand, October 9, 2010
Canterbury celebrate beating Southland in Invercargill © Getty Images
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Canterbury reclaimed the highly-prized Ranfurly Shield with a ruthlessly efficient 26-16 victory over Southland that also saw them climb to the top of the ITM Cup table.

The two-time defending provincial champions also maintained their status atop the competition standings although competition points were of secondary importance as they ended Southland's memorable six-match shield tenure despite being dominated in key facets.

A Colin Slade penalty six minutes from full time heralded the beginning of Canterbury's 14th era with the shield and ended Southland's memorable six-match shield tenure - although a pulsating match hinged on two key moments earlier in the final quarter. Southland twice turned down kickable penalties in a bid to score a converted try and level the scores at 23-23 but were thwarted by Matt Todd, who dispossessed All Blacks scrum-half Jimmy Cowan in the shadow of the goalposts.

Slade finished the game with a try, four penalties and two conversions with Telusa Veainu grabbing the Cantabs' other score. A first-half try from Kane Thompson, converted by Robbie Robinson, helped keep Southland in touch at 16-13 as the sides headed to the tunnel but it was not to be their day.

North Harbour's leaky defence provided Wellington with a feast of second-half tries as they ran out 52-23 winners in Albany on Sunday.

Harbour had worked hard to hold Wellington to 20-20 at halftime, but the visitors ran in five second-half tries to secure the bonus-point win.

Ben Botica scored the first try for North Harbour through an intercept and Matt Luamanu added another after John Schwalger's try to put North Harbour up 17-10.

But Alby Matthewson hit back before halftime and Scott Fuglistaller, skipper Jeremy Thrush, Alipate Leuia, Julian Savea and Leuia again all crossed for Wellington in landslide victory.

Tasman played the spoilers' card to perfection to tip over Bay of Plenty 41-39 in Blenheim on Sunday.

While Bay of Plenty displayed their attacking flair with six tries, including a brace to halfback Taniela Moa and further efforts from Luke Braid, Grant McQuoid, Daniel Waenga and Lelia Masaga, Tasman turned to the reliable Tom Marshall, who was entrusted with the kicking duties for the first time this season.

He responded by nailing nine of 11 attempts for a personal haul of 26 points to complement his side's three tries from Kade Poki, Shane Christie and Robbie Malneek as they pocketed just their third win in 11 matches to improve from 13th to 12th on the standings.

Auckland kept alive their semi-finals aspirations with a 37-13 win Counties-Manukau in Pukekohe. While their execution was absent for large portions of the game Auckland's endeavour finally won the argument as they overcame a 6-13 half-time deficit.

Five second-half tries, including two each to flanker and captain Daniel Braid and wing Joe Rokocoko and another for Jerome Kaino, saw them emerge on the right side of the ledger after their own shortcomings and Counties-Manukau hustle and bustle had threatened an upset. Fly-half Dean Cummins supplied all of Counties' points care of a converted first-half try and two penalties.

Two tries in the closing seven minutes secured Taranaki a 30-16 bonus try win over Manawatu in New Plymouth in Saturday's early game. Ahead 18-16 with under 10 minutes to play, and with Manawatu looking threatening, tries to inside centre Jayden Hayward and speedy youngster Beauden Barrett secured a flattering win for Taranaki.

Stephen Donald stepped up his bid for a place in the All Blacks' November tour squad with a masterful two-try performance as Waikato cruised to a 41-15 victory over Otago in Hamilton on Friday. The fly-half bagged a personal haul of 26 points as well as crafting two further tries while All Blacks fullback Mils Muliaina made the most of a rare appearance for the Mooloo men with a second-half score.

Hawke's Bay continued their late season run with a 25-13 win over Northland in Napier on Thursday. Coming off last week's 34-34 draw with Auckland, and a 32-24 win over Taranaki the round before, Hawke's Bay made it three in a row thanks to tries from Chris Eaton, Richard Buckman, Kahn Fotuali'i and 10 points from the boot of Mark Jackman. Lachie Munro provided all of Northland's points courtesy of a try, two penalties and a conversion.

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