Auckland got their ITM Cup campaign off to a winning start on Sunday as they battled past North Harbour 27-20 at Eden Park.
Auckland got their ITM Cup campaign off to a winning start on Sunday as they edged out North Harbour 27-20.
Played in front of 5,513 at Eden Park, Auckland's strong start proved sufficient in holding off a late challenge from their Championship visitors.
Lolagi Visinia, Piri Weepu, Sam Prattley and Luke Braid scored the four tries while James Parsons and Ray Niuia would reply for North Harbour.
Simon Hickey was solid at fly-half in Gareth Anscombe's absence and will need to be again when Auckland face Manawatu next weekend.
Tries: Visinia, Weepu, Prattley, Braid
Con: Hickey 2
For North Harbour:
Tries: Parsons, Niuia
Con: Elrick 2
Pen: Elrick 2
Auckland: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 George Moala, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Tenina Sauileoge, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Joe Edwards, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Angus Taavao-Matau, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Sean Brookman, 19 Sean Polwart, 20 Wayne Ngaluafe, 21 Vince Aso, 22 Silipa Saleaula.
North Harbour: 15 Cody Rei, 14 Jona Tuitoga, 13 Pita Ahki, 12 Tua Saseve, 11 David Raikuna, 10 Jon Elrick, 9 Brenton Helleur, 8 Viliami Fihaki, 7 Zac Judge, 6 Jordan Manihera, 5 Josh Olsen, 4 Chris Smith, 3 Ropate Rinakama, 2 James Parsons, 1 Greg Pleasants.
Replacements: 16 Ray Niuia, 17 Alex Woonton, 18 Brandon Nansen, 19 Scott Uren, 20 Bryn Hall, 21 Nafi Tuitavake, 22 James Semple.
Referee: Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri