Planet Rugby

Taranaki still in the hunt

03rd October 2009 09:28

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Still standing: Taranaki

Taranaki managed to keep their Air NZ Cup hopes alive after recording a much-needed 38-10 victory over Otago at Yarrow Stadium on Saturday.

With both these outfits languishing at the wrong end of the standings before kick-off, this clash held huge significance due to the fact its loser would fall out of the play-off reckoning.

And despite Otago having drawn first blood after Adam Thomson had set up scrum-half Sean Romans to sneak over with Glen Dickson converting, an impressive second-half onslaught from the hosts proved decisive in the end.

Their scores came through Paul Perez, two from Tony Penn and Nemia Soqeta to leave the 'Naki in the chasing pack behind Hawke's Bay, Wellington and Southland, with Canterbury already assured of their knockout berth.

Several had predicted Otago to pose a more serious threat on Saturday but in truth they were well beaten up front, with Ben Souness and makeshift flank Jason Eaton proving to be constant thorns in their side.

However, the performance of in-form fly-half Willie Ripia also played its part in New Plymouth as his eighteen points from the tee, coupled with starting the move that saw centre Perez go over, was also vital to the home outfit's victory.

The aforementioned forward power was highlighted by prop Penn's brace of scores. His first coming from a lineout which was formed into a driving maul before he powered over.

And he was at it again on 56 minutes with another set-piece - involving Ripia and Souness - seeing the loosehead throw a dummy to go in under the uprights. The game was sealed.

But there was now the nagging unfinished business of a picking up a bonus point for the 'Naki and they finally claimed the maximum when replacement Soqeta added the finishing touches to another set-piece with a good finish wide out.

For a downbeat Otago, all that remains is to play out their season with three home games against Waikato, Tasman and Counties Manukau their competition run-in.

The scorers:

For Taranaki:
Tries: Perez, Penn 2, Soqeta
Con: Ripia 3
Pen: Ripia 4

For Otago:
Tries: Romans
Con: Dickson
Pen: Dickson

Taranaki: 15 Jack Cameron, 14 Nathan Hohaia, 13 Paul Perez, 12 Jayden Hayward, 11 Shayne Austin, 10 Willie Ripia, 9 Brett Goodin, 8 Ben Souness, 7 John Willis, 6 Jason Eaton, 5 Craig Clarke, 4 Leon Power, 3 Michael Bent, 2 Laurence Corlett, 1 Tony Penn (c).
Replacements: 16 James Hinchco, 17 Carl Carmichael, 18 Nemia Soqeta, 19 Timo Tutavaha, 20 Kaylem O'Connell, 21 Isaiah Tuifua, 22 Esera Lauina.

Otago: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Karne Hesketh, 13 Brett Mather, 12 Charlie Hore, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Glenn Dickson, 9 Sean Romans, 8 Adam Thomson, 7 Alando Soakai (c), 6 Eben Joubert, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Hayden Triggs, 3 Sam Hibbard, 2 Jason Macdonald, 1 Ben Nolan.
Replacements: 16 Peter Mirrielees, 17 Kees Meeuws, 18 Hoani Matenga, 19 Paul Grant, 20 Fraser Lau, 21 Michael Witt, 22 Andrew Parata.

Referee: Bryce Lawrence

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FixtureDetails
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ITM Cup
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Preview
Saturday , August 30
Counties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay14:35
Southland vs Otago17:35
North Harbour vs Waikato19:35
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs Tasman16:35
Wednesday, September 3
Manawatu vs Bay Of Plenty19:35
Thursday , September 4
Otago vs Canterbury19:35
Friday , September 5
Tasman vs Waikato18:05
Northland vs Hawkes Bay20:05
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Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
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Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
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Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
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Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
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North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
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Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
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PosTeamPPts
1Canterbury315
2Tasman210
3Taranaki38
4Counties Manukau27
5Auckland25