The second week of the Mitre 10 Cup season featured less scoring than the first but there were two compelling contests on Saturday including a cracking battle for the Ranfurly Shield in Christchurch. As with the first week there were plenty of Major League Rugby connections, in fact this time featuring in every match.
TASMAN 54 – 21 NORTHLAND
Tasman opened the weekend on Friday by thrashing Northland in part thanks to a hat-trick from All Blacks winger Sevu Reece. Utah captain Dwayne Polataivao started at scrumhalf for the Mako, with former Warriors skipper Tim O’Malley kicking two conversions as a replacement flyhalf. San Diego signing Luatangi Li scored a try for the Taniwha, as did potential RUNY flanker Kara Pryor. Canada rep Jordan Olsen against captained at hooker with Rene Ranger at outside center. Another Utah player Blake Hohaia came off the bench for the losing side.
WAIKATO 41 – 19 NORTH HARBOUR
Saturday saw the Mooloo men keeping up with Tasman by earning a big bonus point home win over North Harbour. Damian McKenzie continued his tremendous form with 16 points. Former Raptors No8 Murphy Taramai started for the visitors.
CANTERBURY 22 – 23 TARANAKI
Trailing by 20-3 at halftime, it looked to be curtains for Canterbury at home with the Ranfurly Shield on the line. They proceeded to score 19 unanswered points to take a 22-20 lead in the 71st minute, but just three minutes later a long-range penalty from Jordie Barrett nudged the Bulls back in front. Taranaki held on to lift the Shield, with Free Jacks prop Donald Brighouse among those who savored the obligatory post-game photo ops.
BAY OF PLENTY 17 – 14 SOUTHLAND
Tony Lamborn‘s Stags were in the fight but it wasn’t enough at Bay of Plenty. ATL’s Rory van Vugt started on the wing for Southland. The Steamers were inspired by an early try via soon-to-be RUNY winger Fa’asiu Fuatai, his second in as many weeks. Free Jacks back row Joe Johnston picked up 25 minutes of game time as a replacement.
AUCKLAND 21 – 39 WELLINGTON
Sunday’s schedule started in Auckland where the home favorites were overwhelmed by an inspired Vince Aso and his Wellington teammates. Old Glory pair Mike Sosene-Feagai and Danny Tusitala each played a significant portion of the second half for Auckland.
HAWKE’S BAY 31 – 17 COUNTIES MANUKAU
The Magpies dispatched the Steelers with little difficulty after two first-half yellow cards left the visitors shorthanded. One of those went to Sam Slade. The Colorado No8 redeemed himself with a 64th minute try, converted by Old Glory’s Jason Robertson, but it was too little too late. Potu Leavasa came on at lock for Counties with fellow Gilgroni Pele Cowley joining Robertson as a replacement halfback.
MANAWATU 25 – 36 OTAGO
It was another 80 minute shift for New England signing Aleki Morris-Lome in the Otago midfield. His visiting team defeated a spirited but outgunned Manawatu Turbos in Palmerston North. The Razorbacks are back on track after being blitzed by Auckland in Round 1.