Auckland cruises into Premiership final
Saturday, October 20, 2018 Campbell Burnes Getty Images
QUICK TAP: WAIKATO SWEEPS INTO CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
Most prominent of all was No 8 Akira Ioane, who missed All Blacks selection earlier in the week. His riposte was a standout effort, scoring two tries and setting one up. Funnily enough, his Wellington opposite Teariki Ben-Nicholas also had a fine game with several surging runs.
Auckland turned over Wellington ball at the first ruck, a sign of things to come, where men like Evan Olmstead and Ioane were most effective.
Yet it was Wellington fullback Wes Goosen who opened the scoring, capitalising on a Jackson Garden-Bachop break to cross in the corner.
Lock Fa’atiga Lemalu, an industrious worker in the tight, reached out with determination for the second try.
Ioane then showed his power from a standing start, carrying two defenders over the tryline for an impressive finish.
FT | @AucklandRugby have secured themselves a spot in the #Mitre10Cup Premiership final after a strong second half performance against @WgtnRugby .#AKLvWEL #Ours pic.twitter.com/GjoU18WShQ— Mitre 10 Cup (@Mitre10Cup) October 20, 2018At 24-10 heading to oranges, things were looking ominous for Wellington, but the Lions, with hooker Dane Coles a halftime substitute, made the early running when Ben-Nicholas scored off a lineout.
Auckland, and Ioane were not done. The No 8 set up the movement which led to his try, again showcasing his powerful leg drive.
Captain TJ Faiane, who was again in fine fettle, made a slashing break which replacement prop Marco Fepuleai converted as the Lions wilted late in the piece, several injuries hitting hard.
Auckland now has a prime chance to add to its 16 national provincial titles against a side that has won nine of the last 10. The 2007 season, under the coaching of Pat Lam, saw Auckland’s last home final and last title.
Auckland Rugby and Eden Park have combined to provide unprecedented free entry to next Saturday’s final, so a big crowd should be on hand.
Auckland 38 (Akira Ioane 2, Melani Nanai, Fa’atiga Lemalu, Marco Fepuleai tries; Harry Plummer 5 con, pen) Wellington 17 (Wes Goosen, Teariki Ben-Nicholas tries; Jackson Garden-Bachop 2 con, pen) HT: 24-10 Auckland
ANNOUNCEMENT | Entry into the #Mitre10Cup Premiership final is FREE entry everyone! Make sure you head along next Saturday night as Auckland take on Canterbury.#Ours pic.twitter.com/EoEc0lUgO8— Mitre 10 Cup (@Mitre10Cup) October 20, 2018
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