Steamers roll over Taranaki in Rotorua

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Saturday, August 18, 2018    Getty Images

Bay of Plenty hadn’t tasted victory against Taranaki since 2006 and knew they had to come out strong if they were any chance of breaking the decade long losing streak. And so they did with a repeated assault on the Taranaki line in the opening 10 minutes before hooker Liam Polwart muscled over to grab an early 7-0 lead.


After working so hard for their first points, Bay of Plenty would have been disappointed to let the Bulls cross their line soon after when Seta Tamanivalu finished off a sweeping 13-phase movement for Taranaki.

With that reminder of Taranaki’s danger, the Steamers adopted a tighter game plan with plenty of one-off running from their big forwards. The tactic paid dividends in the 25th minute when imposing lock Kane Leaupepe crashed over on debut to steal the lead back for the home side.

Going into the second half up 14-10, Bay of Plenty kept up the physicality in the tight passages and maintained a flat defensive line to shut down Taranaki’s game-breakers.

Lock Aaron Carroll was elevated to the starting line-up just before kick off in place of the injured Tyler Ardron and gave Bay of Plenty real belief when he crashed over form a superb ball from Richard Judd to stretch the Steamers out to a 21-10 lead.

A Mike Delany penalty extended the Steamers out to 24-10 with 15 minutes left to play and Taranaki were left to chase the game in the final minutes.

The experience of Delany shone through in the closing stages as he put the Steamers deep into the Taranaki half and added two more penalties to secure a clinical 30-10 win for Bay of Plenty.

While the forward effort was huge from Bay of Plenty, it was their defence that won the game by restricting one of the most dangerous teams in the competition to a solitary try.

Next week Taranaki head home to New Plymouth to defend the Ranfurly Shield against Manawatu while Bay of Plenty will face the first challenge for the Chiefs Country Cup against Counties Manukau in Pukekohe.

Bay of Plenty 30 (Liam Polwart, Aaron Carroll, Kane Leaupepe tries, Mike Delany 3 con, 3 pen) Taranaki 10 (Seta Tamanivalu tries, Beaudein Waaka con, pen)
HT: 14-10