Manawatu last quarter rocks Northland

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Friday, September 22, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

A strong second half effort firstly contained the Northland backline threat with some superb defence and then in a dominant last 12 minutes scored two tries to shut out the visitors completely. Manawatu first five-eighths Jade Te Rure produced an outstanding tactical display to complement the 19 points he contributed with his boot.
The game provided plenty of movement, although intercepts undid much hard work for both teams in the first half.

The TMO was busy during the first 40 minutes as three tries were ruled out, two of them to Northland. In the seventh minute Northland wing Jordan Hyland made an interception, but it was ruled out due to an earlier knock-on. Then in the 31st minute centre Jack Goodhue looked to have run around the defence out wide, but fullback Solomon Alaimalo was ruled to have been involved in an obstruction which opened up the space for Goodhue.

But Manawatu also felt hard done by when prop Michael Alaalatoa raced onto a bouncing ball to grab it and go over, but a forward pass was ruled to the ball Alaalatoa grabbed.

However, Goodhue was not to be denied and it was his lead-up work in the 22nd minute when he unleashed his sidestep to break through the defence and create a ruck before a long pass from Jack Ram was flung to fellow flanker Dan Pryor positioned, unmarked, on the left flank and he scored the opening try.

Unfortunately in the 31st minute, it was another long pass from Goodhue that provided Manawatu wing Newton Tudreu with a chance to get a hand to the ball and knock it forward to regather it and run in for the try.

Northland introduced Rene Ranger at half-time and he had an immediate impact with his strong running, however, the points took a little longer to come. It was Manawatu who escaped their own territory after early pressure and from a scrum just inside the Northland 22m area, they moved the ball with Te Rure giving a perfect inside pass to flying blindside wing Curtis Ambrose.

He was immediately into space and while tackled he was able to reach out to put the ball over the line.

Six minutes later, in the 51st minute, Northland were back in the home 22m area and a blindside move saw Ranger take the ball to the line and when tackled he slipped the ball to supporting flanker Jack Ram for the try.

Ram was in again in the 61st minute when Northland built on a penalty lineout option and from the drive hooker Matt Moulds and No.8 Jaycob Matiu both carried the ball ahead and from Matiu's effort Ram picked up drove low to score for Northland to take the lead.

But after Te Rure landed a penalty goal, Manawatu went back onto attack and from a ruck Te Rure sighted space across on the right flank and placed the ball on a sixpence for Tudreu to secure the ball and then beat his opposite Jone Macilai to score.

More attacking action followed when Northland replacement first five-eighths Peter Breen attempted a clearing kick only to have it charged down by Manawatu replacement Hamish Northcott who recovered the ball to score.

Scorers: Manawatu 39 (Newton Tudreu 2, Ambrose Curtis, Hamish Northcott tries; Jade Te Rure 2 con, 5 pen) Northland 25 (Dan Pryor, Jack Ram 2 tries; Dan Hawkins 2 con, 2 pen). HT: 13-8