North Harbour stun Steamers

10th Oct 2009, 12:11

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Making an impact: Luke McAlister

Making an impact: Luke McAlister

Bay of Plenty's Air New Zealand Cup play-off hopes took a big knock following a shock 28-7 defeat to North Harbour in Albany on Saturday.

Bay of Plenty's Air New Zealand Cup play-off hopes took a big knock following a shock 28-7 defeat to North Harbour in Albany on Saturday.

After leading 25-0 at half-time, the game was officially over as a contest and the result all but ends the Steamers' hopes of reaching the semi-finals after suffering their second defeat on the trot.

North Harbour were always out of play-off contention, but ruined the Steamers party who now drop to eighth place on the standing with two rounds left to play.

All Black Luke McAlister returned to action after a six-week injury break to put some steel in the back-line, and was on hand to touch down for well-taken try for his team.

Such was North Harbour's pace and accuracy with the ball, they made the Bay of Plenty defence look ordinary as scrum-half Nalu Tuigamala - a late replacement for Chris Smylie - scored two superb tries.

North Harbour pivot Mike Harris put two penalties on the board and kicked two conversions to help take his side out to a 25-0 lead into half-time.

Bay of Plenty came out with some fire in the second half and scored early through lock Culum Retallick for Mike Delaney to convert.

But North Harbour, enjoying their best night since their 22-19 win over Canterbury in the first round, were not to be denied from claiming their third win from their last four matches.

The scorers:

For North Harbour:
Tries: Tuigamala 2, McAlister
Cons: Harris 2
Pens: Harris 3

For Bay of Plenty:
Try: Retallick
Con: Delany

Yellow card: Filo Paulo (North Harbour, 45 - foul play, late tackle)

North Harbour: 15 Jack McPhee, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luke McAlister, 11 Rudi Wulf, 10 Mike Harris, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Viliame Ma'afu, 7 Tom Chamberlain, 6 Anthony Boric (c), 5 Filo Paulo, 4 James King, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Mike Mayhew, 1 Mike Reid.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 James Afoa, 18 Chris Smith, 19 Scott Uren, 20 Nalu Tuigamala, 21 Ben Botica, 22 Nafi Tuitavake

Bay of Plenty: 15 Toby Arnold, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Nigel Hunt, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Jason Hona, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Junior Poluleuligaga, 8 Colin Bourke (c), 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Zac Hohneck, 5 Culum Retallick, 4 John Moore, 3 James McGougan, 2 John Pareanga, 1 Joe Savage
Replacements: 16 Dean Elmiger, 17 Ted Tauroa, 18 Mark Burman, 19 Matt Henwood, 20 Josh Hall, 21 Corey Aporo, 22 Zar Lawrence

Referee: Vinnie Munro