Turbos fall short in Shield challenge
Manawatu will be looking to quickly move on after falling short in their Ranfurly Shield challenge 41-21 against Taranaki on Friday night. The shield holders had the wood at set piece and punished the Turbos repeatedly. Taranaki racked up their scores on either side of halftime to shut out the Turbos, who looked dangerous at points.
Rob Thompson, Junior Laloifi and Anotonio Kiri Kiri were the shining lights for the Turbos on a tough night. Taranaki got on the board in the seventh minute when Manasa Mataele found space down the left wing.
In the 14th minute, Sam Malcolm and Nehe Milner-Skudder combined well on the counter attack and when the ball was spread wide, Thompson found space. His pass put Laloifi into enough space for the speedster to blaze his way to the tryline. But Taranaki wasted little time getting back onto attack.
Beaudein Waaka was the benefactor after Taranaki capitalised when Mataele won a high ball contest with Nehe Milner-Skudder. Thompson was in fine form and when he made another line break, Manawatu had all the momentum. Eventually it was Nick Crosswell who buried his way over the tryline.
The problem for Manawatu was that they kept letting Taranaki roll over the scoreboard. Tei Walden scored from the midfield after a monster Taranaki scrum to put the home side clear again. The Turbos scrum continued to come under pressure and Toa Halafihi added further hurt to the Turbos with a try to give Taranaki a 31-14 lead at the break. The scrum continued to be a concern in the second half with a scrum penalty gifting the opening points of the second half and then another setting up a try to Dan Waite.
Thompson picked up a try of his own after a top offload from Kiri Kiri with 10 minutes to play. They pushed hard late for a four-try bonus point, but could not get over the tryline.
The Turbos’ next match is against Otago at CET Arena.
Taranaki 41 (Manasa Mataele, Beaudein Waaka , Tei Walden, Toa Halafihi, Dan Waite tries; Waaka 5 con, 2 pen) Manawatu 21 (Junior Laloifi, Nick Crosswell, Rob Thompson tries; Sam Malcolm 2 con, Jade Te Rure con) HT: 31-14 Taranaki