18 Sep 2010

Taranaki score upset win over Canterbury to cap anniversary

4:28 pm on 18 September 2010

Taranaki refused to let an often wet and windy afternoon put a dampener on their national provincial rugby match against Canterbury, winning their 125th anniversary centrepiece 31-20.

The five-try, bonus point victory puts Taranaki up to third on the table, one point ahead of the defending champions.

The home side led 19-10 at half time.

Canterbury started the match with a try to Sean Maitland in the third minute, which Stephen Brett converted.

Ben Souness dotted down for Taranaki soon afterwards, but Willie Ripia's conversion rebounded off the cross-bar, and Canterbury went on to extend their lead with a Brett penalty.

Taranaki fullback Kurt Baker ran away with a Jayden Hayward offload from a pinpoint Ripia bomb to put the home team in front, and when Sonny Bill Williams on defence failed to grab a loose ball near the Canterbury try-line, George Pisi was perfectly positioned to scoop it up and score behind the posts.

Ripia converted both tries to put Taranaki the home side 19-10 up at the break.

But another Canterbury penalty after the restart closed the gap to 6 points, and a superbly worked team move starting from inside their own half ended with Williams scoring his first try in the competition; the conversion putting the visitors back in front, 20-19.

Taranaki answered with a patiently worked but uncoverted try to Jarrod Hoeata, and the lead changed yet again.

Another defensive mishap from Sonny Bill Williams allowed Beauden Barrett to tap through and score, and the successful conversion put Taranaki up 31-20, the final score.