Planet Rugby

Canterbury ensure play-offs spot

09th October 2009 11:59

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sean maitland

On top: Canterbury winger Sean Maitland hunts down a Turbo

Canterbury ran in eight tries, retained the Ranfurly Shield, stayed atop the Air New Zealand Cup table and ensured a place in the semi-finals following their 50-26 win over Manawatu at AMI Stadium in Christchurch on Friday.

Apart from the opening few minutes, when Manawatu ignored the script to score an early try, Canterbury looked assured in racking up a dominant victory.

The Turbos made sure they didn't go home empty-handed when scoring their fourth try of the match six minutes from full-time to earn a bonus-point.

Manawatu struck first, catching Canterbury unawares after some elusive running from fly-half Aaron Cruden. Cruden ghosted through two defenders and timed his pass to Aaron James perfectly for the wing to cross after just three minutes, with Isaac Thompson converting to give the visitors a surprise lead.

But that lead lasted all of a minute before Kieran Read resumed normal service with a well-taken try on the counter-attack after an initial break from scrum-half Andy Ellis.

Tries to Sam Whitelock and wing Tu Umaga-Marshall followed in quick succession, as the competition leaders stretched out to a 19-7 lead after only 12 minutes.

With Canterbury looking increasingly slick, and with a plentiful supply of quick turnover ball, Read picked up his second try to extend the lead to 26-7.

Manawatu ended the first half as they began, a try to lock James Goode after a period of concerted pressure finally breaking through Canterbury's well-drilled defence as the southerners went into half-time 33-12 ahead.

Second-half tries followed for Canterbury to Ellis, Colin Slade and returning All Black Carter - as both teams ignored a kicking game in favour of running rugby.

Manawatu, who scored through Goode again midway through the second half, were rewarded in the closing minutes when replacement centre Tevita Taufui crossed for the bonus-point try.

For scorers:

For Canterbury:
Tries: Read 2, S Whitelock, Umaga-Marshall, Flynn, Ellis, Slade, Carter
Cons: Brett 5

For Manawatu:
Tries: Goode 2, James, Taufui
Cons: Thompson 3

Canterbury: 15 Colin Slade, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Tim Bateman, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Tu Umaga-Marshall, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 George Whitelock (c), 6 Kieran Read, 5 Brad Thorn, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ti'i Paulo, 17 Andrew Olorenshaw, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Richie McCaw, 20 Tyson Keats, 21 Dan Carter, 22 Casey Laulala.

Manawatu: 15 Tomasi Cama, 14 Aaron James, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Isaac Thompson, 11 Lote Raikabula, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Brent Thompson, 7 Doug Tietjens, 6 Nick Crosswell (c), 5 James Goode, 4 Reece Robinson, 3 David Te Moana, 2 Rob Foreman, 1 Grant Polson.
Replacements: 16 Sean O'Connor, 17 Ma'afu Fia, 18 Lisiate Fa'aoso, 19 Callum Gibbins, 20 Hamish Gosling, 21 Tevita Taufui, 22 Casey Stone.

Referee: Bryce Lawrence

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