Auckland ease relegation fears
Saturday, September 30, 2017 allblacks.com Getty Images
QUICK TAP: MANAWATU SECURE LAST GASP WIN OVER SOUTHLAND
Auckland have been chronic slow-starters in 2017 but came out a different side to leave the Steamers shell-shocked at 17-0 down after a frantic opening 10 minutes.
With sponsor Barfoot and Thompson offering $2,000 per try to Starship Hospital for the match, electric wing Joe Ravouvou banked $4,000 for the charity with a stunning double in the first 10 minutes.
While expansive with ball in hand, Auckland were keen to make the most of any scoring opportunities and opted for the posts whenever they were in range. The tactic paid off with three Jono Hickey penalties helping the home side to a 23-0 lead at the halftime break.
Bay of Plenty were their own worst enemy in the first half with a high error count giving them no chance to get into the game.
Auckland started the second half in the same fashion as the first with two stunning tries. The first was finished by fullback Melani Nanai after a searing break by Vince Aso. Not long after Aso had a try of his own following an excellent run by powerful loose forward Taleni Seu.
A loss for Auckland would have had them staring down the barrel of demotion to the Championship. But the win has taken them to 17 points and even put them in the mix for the fourth playoff spot with two matches remaining.
First time Auckland captain TJ Faiane said he was proud of his team’s effort: “We talked about building our game and playing with passion. We wanted to be direct first and make the gains out wide,” Faiane said.
Auckland 38 (Joe Ravouvou 2, Vince Aso, Melani Nanai tries, Jono Hickey, 4 pen, 2 con, Tyrone Elkington-MacDonald con) Bay of Plenty 19 (Henry Stowers, Tom Franklin, Jesse Paraete tries, Luke Campbell 2 con)
FT | As well as giving a generous donation to Starship Hospital, @AucklandRugby stun @BOPRugby with a 38-19 win. #AKLvBOP #Mitre10Cup pic.twitter.com/PxzGCqNGEz— Mitre10 Cup (@Mitre10Cup) September 30, 2017
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