14 Sep 2017

Canterbury retain the Shield

5:31 am on 14 September 2017

A destructive Canterbury outfit has retained the Ranfurly Shield in style, thumping Counties Manukau 78-5 in Christchurch.

The Cantabrians won at a canter on their home patch, racking up a 43-0 lead before half time and duly riding out the result.

Tim Bateman scores for Canterbury.

Tim Bateman scores for Canterbury. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Halfback Mitchell Drummond starred for the red-and-blacks, scoring four first- half tries, while stalwart Tim Bateman bagged a hat-trick.

Rob Thompson, Poasa Waqanibau, Josh McKay and zippy Crusaders recruit Braydon Ennor also dotted down as the Cantabrians dominated the set-piece and sliced Counties open again and again.

Star first-five Richie Mo'unga was imperious alongside Drummond, guiding his side around the park ably and showcasing his skills.

Only a Nigel Ah Wong try, meanwhile, brought the Steelers joy.

Canterbury are now closing in on a full year with the Log o' Wood, having wrested it off Waikato in late-September 2016.

They have already defended the Shield against Otago and Southland in 2017.

Eight National Provincial Championship triumphs in the past nine years also tell a story of total provincial domination.

They sit on top of this year's Premiership division with five wins from five after Wednesday's match, ahead of chasers North Harbour and Taranaki.

On a sour note, however, No.8 Luke Whitelock limped off with a knee injury.

"Really pleased with the effort," Bateman said.

"Even though we've created a lot of good opportunities with a lot of broken-play tries, we're not quite happy with where we are just yet.

"We've got a lot of work we can do on our shape."

They'll next play against Wellington on Sunday.