Planet Rugby

Auckland fight back to deny Harbour

07th August 2011 08:26

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Steven Luatua Auckland v North harbour 2011

Busting through: Steven Luatua

Auckland overturned a five-point half-time deficit to beat North Harbour 29-13 in their ITM Cup match in Albany on Sunday.

North Harbour led 13-8 at the break but struggled to contain Aukland in the second period.

In very wet conditions both sides were keen to move the ball wide at every opportunity and Auckland were rewarded with a four-try bonus point.

Fly-half Ben Botica opened the scoring for the hosts with an early penalty but Auckland were first to cross the whitewash after Steven Luatua stole a line-out from North Harbour. Wing Brent Ward must be given credit for his run and off-load to set up number eight Chris Lowrey, who crashed over.

Harbour moved back in front just before the break however when substitute forward Irwin Finau scored and Botica's conversion gave them a 13-8 lead.

The visitors took control in the second half and Luatua scored Auckland's second try after Ward cracked the North Harbour defence again.

North Harbour looked down and out when full-back Isaia Toeava - who had a solid game - put wing George Moala clear for try number three.

The final nail in coffin came when substitute wing Joe Rokocoko forced a turnover inside Auckland's 22, sparking a break-out which saw fly-half Gareth Anscombe dot down after taking a free kick quickly.

The scorers

For Auckland:
Tries: Lowrey, Luatua, Moala, Anscombe
Con: Anscombe
Pens: Anscombe

For North Harbour:
Tries: Finau
Con: Botica
Pens: Botica 2

North Harbour: 15 Willie Walker, 14 Nafi Tuitavake, 13 Rudi Wulf, 12 Brendon Watt, 11 David Raikuna, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Chris Smylie (capt), 8 Mat Luamanu, 7 Malakai Ravulo, 6 Solomon King, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 James King, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 James Parsons, 1 James Afoa.
Replacements:16 Mike Mayhew, 17 Alex Woonton, 18 Irwin Finau, 19 Brent Wilson, 20 Brenton Helleur, 21 Pita Ahki, 22 Ken Pisi, 23 Taione Vea

Auckland: 15 Isaia Toeava, 14 Brent Ward, 13 Teddy Stanaway, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 George Moala, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Toby Morland, 8 Chris Lowrey, 7 Sean Polwart, 6 Nathan Hughes, 5 Steven Luatuam, 4 Josh Katene, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Tom McCartney (c), 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Liaki Moli, 19 Ben Masoe, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Piers Francis, 22 Joe Rokocoko, 23 Angus Ta'avao.

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