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Taniwha trounce Waikato in Whangarei

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Saturday, September 9, 2017    Ben Fawkes    Getty Images

Both teams came into the match in good form, with identical two win, one loss records – easily the Taniwha’s best start to a Mitre 10 Cup season for several years.

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Northland were intent on moving the ball at every opportunity, former All Black Rene Ranger with a number of prominent early touches, and looking dangerous whenever in possession.

Northland dominated territory and handled the inclement conditions far better, steadily accumulating points throughout the opening forty minutes.

Fullback Solomon Alaimalo was the first to cross for the Taniwha, after eleven minutes, latching onto a superb ball from first five-eighth Dan Hawkins to scamper over from 30 metres out.

Eight minutes later the home side was in again, loose head prop Ross Wright barging over close to the posts following a period of sustained pressure inside the Waikato 22.
Northland was far more aggressive at the breakdown, creating pressure that forced Waikato into handling errors or penalties when in possession.

This indiscipline saw Waikato reduced to 14 when lock James Tucker was yellow carded for a dangerous clear out on Hawkins, who kicked the resulting penalty, extending Northland’s lead to 15-0.



Hawkins kicked a further penalty right at the end of the half, after Waikato prop Loni Uhila was penalised for a swinging arm while tackling winger Jordan Hyland, to give Northland an 18-0 lead at the break.

The Taniwha brought the same physicality to the second half, but errors when inside the Waikato 22 meant several scoring opportunities were wasted.

Eventually Northland’s possession and set piece dominance was turned into points, blindside flanker Jack Ram scoring from a lineout drive – Hawkins’ conversion stretching the lead to 25 after 58 minutes.

Waikato had opportunities throughout the half, but was unable to maintain a solid attacking platform.

Twice possession was lost from attacking lineouts, and the struggling Waikato pack struggled to retain its own scrum feed.

The game opened up in the final ten minutes, as Northland chased the bonus point try and Waikato desperately tried to register on the scoreboard.

However this desperation stung Waikato, a wild midfield pass allowed Ranger to turn the ball over, with quick hands feeding second five-eighth Jack Goodhue, who cruised over from 20 metres out.

Waikato was able to mange a consolation try, to replacement forward Adam Burn, with less than five minutes to play, before an injury time try to left wing Joni Macilai completed the demolition.

SCORERS
Northland 37 (Solomon Alaimalo, Ross Wright, Jack Ram, Jack Goodhue, Jone Macilai tries, Dan Hawkins 2 con, 2 pen, Tim Blundell con
Waikato 7 (Adam Burn try, Matty Lansdowne con)
Halftime: 18-0