The play-offs of the mitre 10 Cup creep ever closer with Round 8 concluding today largely as expected although three teams threw themselves above and beyond to post some significant upset results.
Canterbury vs Otago:
The round kicked off in riveting style as Otago managed to pull off a superb and unexpected 23-16 victory over Canterbury at Orangetheory Stadium. The visitors were fired up from the word go and took the game to their opponents who could not do enough to stem the blue tide.
Wellington vs Tasman:
A quality performance from Tasman saw them take home a valuable away victory against a Wellington outfit who, before the game, were favourites to past a win.
Tasman led 11-0 at the break and continued their clinical dominance into the second stanza. They limited Wellington to just three points in the entire game while they themselves managed to build a score of 19.
Northland vs North Harbour:
This fixture turned out pretty much as expected with North Harbour taking the victory though Northland did manage to put up a decent fight. The scoreboard read 24-8 at full-time but the game was, for the most part, a tightly contested affair but Harbour sealed victory with a break-away try seven minutes from time.
Auckland vs Waikato:
Waikato travelled to Eden Park to take on a stout Auckland outfit. The visitors struck first blood after a pinch of brilliance from scrumhalf Xavier Roe saw him dive over in the tenth minute.
It took Auckland twenty minutes to get on the scoreboard, though once they did, they kept it ticking over – largely through Salesi Rayasi, who completed a hat-trick.
Bay of Plenty vs Hawke’s Bay:
An extremely competitive match ended with Bay of Plenty winning 22-17 against a spirited Hawke’s Bay. A win would have put the Magpies at the top of the table but BOP were having none of it as a try in the 65th minute ultimately sealed victory for them. They had to stem the aggressive Magpie tide late in the game but managed to hold them out.
Manawatu vs Southland:
It was a big day for Manawatu as they recorded their first win of the competition – 24-12 against Southland.
The conditions were difficult in pumping winds and Southland were determined not to make it easy for their opponents with committed defence and valiant attack. Manawatu, however, held things together up front and did enough for victory.
Taranaki vs Counties Manukau:
In the biggest upset of the round, Counties Manukau did a number on Taranaki, coming out 31-27 on top in a riveting game.
Taranaki drew first blood but Counties hit back with a try of their own shortly after the half-hour mark. Taranaki winger Lewis Ormond displayed fantastic athleticism to dot down in the corner for his team’s second try.
The half-time score read 12-10.
Taranaki thought they might have it sewn up when they snuck ahead with a penalty kick with five minutes remaining, but nothing could have prepared them for the bit of individual brilliance coming from Etene Nanai-Seturo who ghosted through the defence to give his team the fianal say and victory.