Planet Rugby

Auckland close in on semi-finals

18th October 2009 04:20

Share:

Jerome Kaino

Grounded: Jerome Kaino emerges after scoring his try

Auckland remain on course for an Air New Zealand Cup semi-final after recording a clinical 37-14 win over Counties-Manukau at Eden Park on Sunday.

But the crucial bonus-point was not clinched until loose forward Peter Saili crashed over for the locals' fourth try at the death.

It kept Auckland on the fringe of the play-offs in sixth place and licking their lips ahead of a virtual "quarter-final" in the final round against fifth placed Waikato in Hamilton on Saturday. The winners may well creep into the semi-finals.

For Auckland it would be the reward for some rejuvenated late-season form, having won three on the trot since a stinging loss to Tasman.

Things looked dicey at times, leading just 10-7 at halftime after playing with the aid of a decent breeze.

They were still just 20-14 up with 15 minutes remaining before All Blacks flanker Jerome Kaino and Saili crossed late.

Auckland dominated first half territory and fullback Paul Williams scored early but a lack of breakdown security kept their battling opponents in the picture.

Counties-Manukau scored the games' two best tries, team efforts midway through each half which were both finished by Tim Nanai-Williams. The second saw the talented fullback chip and regather superbly, capping a fine game in which he scored all the visitors' points.

Flanker Onasa'i Auva'a dived over in the left-hand corner soon after the break to give his side breathing space while Auckland's chances were helped by perfect goal-kicking.

First five-eighth Ash Moeke landed his four shots while his replacement Gareth Arlidge slotted three from three.

The scorers:

For Auckland:
Tries:
Williams, Auva'a, Kaino, Saili
Cons: Moeke 2, Arlidge 2
Pens: Moeke 2, Arlidge

For Counties-Manukau:
Tries:
Nanai-Williams 2
Cons: Nanai-Williams 2

The teams:

Auckland: 15 Paul Williams, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Benson Stanley (captain), 12 Jamie Helleur, 11 Atieli Pakalani, 10 Ash Moeke, 9 Taniela Moa, 8 Chris Lowrey, 7 Onosa'i Auva'a, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Andrew van der Heijden, 4 Kurtis Haiu, 3 John Afoa, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Tevita Mailau.
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Jay Williams, 19 Peter Saili, 20 Auvasa Faleali'i, 21 Gareth Arlidge, 22 Chay Raui.

Counties-Manukau Steelers: 15 Tim Nanai-Williams, 14 David Raikuna, 13 Siale Piutau, 12 Dean Cummins, 11 Sherwin Stowers, 10 Tasesa Lavea

(captain), 9 Notise Tauafao, 8 Waka Setitaia, 7 DJ Forbes, 6 Fritz Lee, 5 Rees Logan, 4 Alepini Olosoni, 3 Tuaefe Palelei, 2 Ilaisa Maasi, 1 Simon Lemalu.
Replacements: 16 Matt Holloway, 17 Kojak Faioso, 18 Jamie Chipman, 19 Ryota Asano, 20 Samisoni Fisilau, 21 Seremaia Tagicakibau, 22 Ahsee Tuala.

Referee: Ben Skeen

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs ToulonUlster vs Toulon Preview
Scarlets vs LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Preview
Bath vs ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Preview
Montpellier vs GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Preview
Northampton vs OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Preview
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Preview
Castres vs LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Preview
Wasps vs HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Preview
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92 Preview
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs Edinburgh19:35
Ospreys vs Connacht19:35
Glasgow vs Benetton Treviso19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs ConnachtExeter vs Connacht Preview
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs LionsWestern Province vs Lions Preview
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615