Big Waaka haul gets Taranaki home

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Wednesday, August 29, 2018    Getty Images

It looked like the home-side were going to snatch a draw when wing Toni Pulu scored a scintillating individual try in the 74th minute to make it 19-19 but Taranaki showed their class by scoring from the kick off just one minute later to steal the lead back.


The Steelers had their fans on their feet with time up on the clock as they pressed for Taranaki’s line but were denied by veteran lock Kane Thomson. The 35-year-old second rower held the Steelers ball carrier up close to the line to force the turnover and secure the 19-26 win for Taranaki.

Counties Manukau must be wondering what they need to do to secure a win after losing their opening three matches by a margin of seven points or less.

Beaudein Waaka came into round three as the leading point scoring in the Mitre 10 Cup on 26 points and added 21 points through two tries, three penalties and a conversion to put him way out in front on the competition’s top point scorer ladder.

Seta Tamanivalu was at his devastating best in last week’s Ranfurly Shield win over Manawatu and made his presence felt in the opening minutes with a great mid-field break to set up loose forward Lachlan Boshier for the opening try.

It was a worrying sign for the home side but they responded well with their big forwards punching plenty of holes in the Taranaki defence.

Tries to Kalolo Tuiloma and flying wing Tevita Nabura put the Steelers up 12-5 before Taranaki worked their way slowly back into the game through three Waaka penalties.

As the penalty count mounted, Taranaki looked more dangerous and struck a killer blow when second five-eighth Tei Walden put Waaka over out wide to make it 12-19.

It was hard to see where Counties Manukau next points would come from until Toni Pulu laid on one of the tries of the season. Getting the ball on a standing start at halfway, Pulu bumped off Beaudein Waaka before evading six defenders with a mixture of power and pace to tie up the game 19-19.

Taranaki are a side that won’t let any opportunities slip from their grasp and Counties Manukau handed possession back to the Bulls from the kick off and were punished when Waaka grabbed his second try to make it 19-26.

Duane Monkley Medal points:

3: Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Taranaki)
2: Lachlan Boshier (Taranaki)
1: Kalolo Tuiloma (Counties Manukau)

Counties Manukau 19 (Kalolo Tuiloma, Toni Pulu tries, Latuime Fosita con, Luteru Laulala) Taranaki 26 (Lachlan Boshier try, Beaudein Waaka 2 tries, 3 pen, con)
HT: 12-8