Round 4 of the Mitre 10 Cup is done and dusted and, as usual, provided fans with some quality displays of rugby with the skills and adventurous spirit of the New Zealander players.
Bay of Plenty vs Auckland:
Auckland and Bay of Plenty kicked proceedings off at the Rotorua International Stadium where Auckland bagged a valuable 20-16 victory. The teams jogged off for half-time with the score at 17-9 after Auckland winger Salesi Rayasi dotted down twice. A low-scoring second half saw BOP run in one try while Auckland slotted a penalty and managed to stem the tide of a late surge by BOP to win the game.
Counties Manukau vs Manawatu:
A pulsating game ended with Counties Manukau ahead on the scoreboard 36-30. Plenty of tries (including a hat-trick from Alamanda Motuga) and lots of action ensured a clash of high-entertainment value which culminated in a great comeback by the home side to seal their victory.
Northland vs Taranaki:
Northland claimed a hard-fought victory over Taranki, 35-25, at the Semenoff Stadium. Both teams struggled with discipline and the sound of the referee’s whistle was an all-too-regular occurrence. Northland established a good lead in the first half before the sides overtook each other on several occasions in the second stanza. Northland stuck to their guns in the final stages, however, and ground out the win.
Canterbury vs Wellington:
One of the biggest match-ups of the round lived up to expectation and saw Canterbury delight in a five-point victory over rivals Wellington. The visitors were looking dangerous as the game entered the final quarter as they enjoyed the lead 26-18. However, in typical Canterbury fashion, they saved their best for last and managed to add another 13 points to their tally as the game ran to conclusion.
North harbour vs Tasman:
In a truly unexpected result, the hitherto winless North Harbour outfit managed to pull one over defending Champions Tasman at QBE Stadium. Harbour’s plucky forward pack and the boot of Bryn Gatland were instrumental in the victory as Tasman, who scored two intercept tries through Mark Telea and Finaly Christie, seemed somewhat taken aback at the determination of their opposition. Harbour were truly impressive with an all-round performance that acted as a statement to the rest of the competition. The final whistle sounded with the score at 40-24.
Southland vs Waikato:
In difficult, wet conditions, the teams tried their best but it was Waikato who emerged victorious, albeit by a single point (10-9). Waikato's Liam Coombes-Fabling ran in the game’s solitary try in the second stanza. Things were tense going into the final ten minutes as Southland’s two-point was suddenly shattered by a Fletcher Smith drop goal which sealed the game’s fate.
Otago vs Hawke’s Bay:
After eight days in Otago’s clutches, the Ranfurly shield makes its way to McLean Park, much to the delight of a jubilant Hawke’s Bay outfit who managed to undo Otago 28-9 at Forsyth Barr Stadium. After a closely contested first forty (7-6 at half-time), the Bay opened up in the second half, running in another three tries. Folau Fakatava was a stand-out performer for the Magpies who enjoyed their third consecutive win.