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ITM Cup
Bay of Plenty hammer Wellington
ESPNscrum Staff
July 28, 2011
Tasman's Shane Christie gets his tackle wrong on Waikato's Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Waikato v Tasman, ITM Cup, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand, July 29, 2011
Waikato made amends for their earlier poor form in the ITM Cup against Tasman © Getty Images
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Bay of Plenty hammered Wellington 32-0 on Sunday in their ITM Cup clash at Mt Maunganui.

Bay of Plenty made the early running, and were rewarded with early points after quick work from the base of the scrum saw halfback Taniela Moa catch the Wellington defence napping. Moa brushed off the tackle of Wellington openside flanker Scott Fuglistaller with disdain as the line opened up him.

A Chris Noakes penalty 13 minutes later made it 10-0 as Wellington continued their struggle for possession and territory. In the 29th minute, Wellington -- starved of possession and desperately defending their line -- succumbed to the inevitable as the home team kept the ball close for numerous phases before hooker John Pareanga dived over after a no-look inside pass from Moa.

Bay of Plenty's third came in the 34th minute, Phil Burleigh touching down after more concerted pressure as the ball was kept close before being shifted wide for the centre to cross.

Wellington played with more direction in the second-half, keeping Bay of Plenty scoreless until the final minutes. The visitors had threatened briefly as the match wound down, but poor handling let them down as Bay of Plenty pounced on the turnover to spark a length-of-the-field try.

Replacement hooker Daniel Perrin featured with an impressive turn of speed down the right wing before good support play ensured Sevens star Toby Arnold was on hand to score the bonus-point try.

Elsewhere on Sunday - Taranaki compounded Auckland's recent misery in the ITM Cup with a resounding 39-11 win at New Plymouth today.

Taranaki turned what had been an error-filled affair on its head with four quickfire tries to streak out to a 34-6 lead entering the final quarter. Livewire flanker Scott Waldrom accounted for the first of them in the 45th minute when he took the ball at first receiver from a ruck, stepped one defender then used his pace to outstrip the cover in a 22m run to the line.

Eight minutes it was the turn of halfback Tyson Keats to show a clean pair of heels as he shot through a gaping hole after receiving a deep lineout take. Auckland barely had time to find their breath when they found themselves behind the goalposts again 1min later after fullback Kurt Baker initiated then finished a breakout which saw him link with impressively quick left wing Jackson Ormond.

Taranaki's gunpowder had not run dry, though, and only another 3min passed before they pocketed a bonus point fourth touchdown when midfield back Jayden Hayward pick pocketed an intercept to scamper away.

The match then returned to being a stop-start affair until tries were traded in the closing minutes, Auckland finally breaking through via fullback Brent Ward before Taranaki substitute hooker Mahonri Schwalger provided an exclamation mark to his side's performance with their fifth touchdown after the final hooter.

All Blacks utility back Isaia Toeava made his comeback from a lengthy injury layoff for Auckland but there was nothing one player could do to stem the Taranaki tide.

Taranaki had led 6-3 at halftime after 40 minutes of plenty of ball movement but few points to show for it.

Canterbury bounced back from a difficult week beating Manawatu 42-15 in Christchurch on Saturday.

They overpowered the visitors with six tries to produce smiles among the home camp following some trying times due to their Ranfurly Shield loss to Southland seven days ago then a midweek defeat to Wellington.

Manawatu were not helped by a strained Achilles suffered by key playmaker Aaron Cruden which forced the Chiefs' new Super Rugby signing from the field midway through the first-half. But Cruden could not have prevented the result, which came after Canterbury wore down Manawatu's resistance on the back of a mountain of possession.

They led only 15-10 at halftime, hitting the front in the 41st minute when a long pass from flanker Matt Todd found right wing Telusa Veainu in space en route to the tryline.

Cruden had set up the match's first try in the 16th minute when he made an incisive break before a ruck close to the line saw halfback Aaron Smith dart over the line. With Cruden converting to add to an earlier penalty Manawatu were 10-0 against the run of play but the weight of possession began to tell as the half wore on.

It was only a matter of time before Canterbury pierced the Manawatu defences and it duly arrived in the 36th minute when halfback Willi Heinz ended a counter attack launched by left wing Patrick Osborne, who beat two defenders and attracted three tacklers before offloading to the unmarked Heinz. Manawatu's tenacity kept them in the contest despite Bleyendaal extending Canterbury's lead to 18-10 via his second penalty with 30min remaining but they were also gifted a reprieve when fullback Sean Maitland inexplicably dropped the ball with the line open following a storming run from lock Luke Romano.

The visitors came close to slashing the deficit midway through the second half when wing Asaeli Tikoirotuma produced a neat stab kick and chase only to be narrowly beaten to the ball in the in-goal area by Veainu.

But the result was put beyond doubt 15min from the end when a midfield bust by big centre Robbie Fruean created a try for substitute flanker Brendon O'Connor, who loomed up in support to accept the offload near the line. Rookie first five-eighth Tyler Bleyendaal then capped a tidy game by applying the icing to the victory cake with a short range effort for his team's fourth and bonus try before Fruean extended his side's advantage when he latched on to a loose pass among the Manawatu back, swatted off Tomasi Cama and cantered 60m to the line.

Manawatu responded through Smith, who darted over for his second after a front of the lineout move featuring No 8 James Oliver but Canterbury deservedly had the final word when the visitors coughed up possession and Fruean made them pay with his second try.

Elsewhere Northland picked up their second win of the new ITM Cup season by edging out Otago 20-17 in a topsy-turvy contest in Whangarei on Saturday.

Tony Brown opened the scoring for the visitors with an early penalty only to see Lachie Munro respond with two successful strikes on goal of his own to edge Northland in front. However, Otago reclaimed the lead when TJ Ioane crossing at the tail end of the opening quarter. It was Northland, though, who led at the interval, 13-10, with Joel McKenty touching down on 35 minutes following a strong drive from the home side's pack.

The game swung back in Otago's favour 13 minutes into the second half when former All Black Kees Meeuws forced his way over the whitewash but Munro ultimately decided the game in Northland's favour, the fly-half dotting on 61 minutes after a terrific break from centre Rene Ranger. Munro converted his own score and Northland held firm in the time remaining to breathe new life into their campaign.

Waikato despatched Tasman 33-6 in Hamilton on Friday to record their second win of the 2011 ITM Cup.

Despite frittering away possession on many occasions in each half - due to the combined effects of a wet ball and poor passing - Waikato were able to overcome a feisty Tasman defence to score four tries through Tim Mikkelson, Declan O'Donnell, Rory Grice and Ted Tauroa. Waikato, who began the match at the bottom of the Premiership standings were desperate to put their season back on track after a disappointing performance while losing to Bay of Plenty on Tuesday.

The opening try came in the 11th minute when fullback Mikkelson finished off a sweeping move which began after a cut-out pass put midfielder Save Tokula into space. Two Renata penalties to two by Tasman kicker Andre Goodman saw Waikato take a 13-6 lead into halftime. Tasman, who are winless and bottom of the Championship division were unable to raise their game meaningfully in the second half and were kept scoreless.

O'Donnell finished off a sweeping move after Waikato cleared the ball from the back of the scrum in the 50th minute and Grice's try in the 72nd minute set the stage for an all out effort to net a bonus point. That crucial score went to substitute Ted Tauroa who picked the ball from a ruck to drive over right on fulltime.

Southland retained the Ranfurly Shield following a tense 22-14 win over Counties Manukau in Invercargill in Friday's earlier kick-off.

Both sides struggled to gain traction in setting a platform as they struggled to retain the ball in steady rain. Counties, seeking their first Shield victory, were unable to overturn the worst shield record of any union in the national championship and the second worst in New Zealand. Since formation in 1955, Counties have unsuccessfully challenged for the shield 23 times.

The challengers led twice with penalties by first five-eighth Tasesa Lavea but each time, Southland levelled through the boot of James Wilson. Southland, enjoying a glut of possession finally broke the Counties defence when lock Josh Bekhuis crashed over for a converted try after picking the ball up from the back of a ruck. The conversion gave Southland a 13-6 lead at halftime.

Counties suffered a body blow to their hopes when Lavea was forced to leave the field with injury early in the second half. Wilson was in fine kicking form and punished Counties with an early second half penalty. Counties replied with their own penalty through Lavea's replacement James Semple but Wilson stretched the lead out again to 10 points with another pot in the 60th minute.

Counties finally got their game going and strung 24 phases together which took them well inside the Southland 22m before cracking the defence with a try by Grant Henson. Wilson denied Counties a bonus point for losing by seven points or less with another well taken penalty in the 76th minute.

A clinical display from Hawke's Bay saw them despatch North Harbour 39-10 at Albany on Thursday.

Tua Saseve opened the scoring for the away side in the 21st minute with the centre capitalising on good work from fullback Richard Buckman. Andrew Horrell converted the try and added a further penalty four minutes later. Despite Tu Umaga Marshall missing a sitter Hawke's Bay turned up the heat at the end of the first-half and extended their lead through prop Sona Tuamalolo with Horrell adding the extras - going into the break 17-3 ahead.

The visitors started the second-half where they left off in the first with only a last ditch tackle from North Harbour's David Raikuna preventing Gillies Kaka from crossing the line. Umaga Marshall received the ball off the resulting ruck and strolled through the North Harbour defence to score.

Wing Kaka later got his try and hooker Hikairo Forbes added a further score for the away side with North Harbour taking scant consolation from a late Mat Luamana effort.

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