Canterbury advance to ITM Cup final

Date published: October 17 2015

Canterbury advanced to the ITM Cup final by knocking out reigning champions Taranaki with a 46-20 win in their semi-final on Saturday.

The hosts outscored Taranaki four tries to three, with the boot of full-back Tom Taylor proving to be the difference as he kicked 26 points, including six penalties.

Canterbury will now get their chance to go for a seventh title in eight years.

Jackson Ormond grabbed the game's first try after a clever offload from Seta Tamanivalu gave him enough space down the touchline to go over in the corner after 32 minutes, with Taylor and Cody Rei trading penalties prior to that.

Canterbury responded practically from the restart when Rob Thompson charged down Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi and regathered to score under the posts.

Their second try just after half-time was also opportunist – Taranaki overplaying in attack as a loose pass ended up in the hands of Marshall Suckling for a runaway score.

Canterbury now held a big lead at 26-8 but a fine solo try from Kurt Baker – running down the touchline and cutting in past Ryan Crotty – gave Taranaki a lifeline.

However another chargedown, unbelievably again by Thompson, gave Canterbury a third try as the inside centre pounced to double his tally.

Ben Funnell crashed over late on to add more points and even though Taranaki got a penalty try and Johnny McNicholl a yellow card for deliberating knocking down a pass, the result was long done and dusted.

Canterbury march on into next week's showpiece game with a 46-20 semi-final win under their belts.

The scorers: 

For Canterbury:
Tries: Suckling, Marshall 2, Funnell
Cons: Taylor 4
Pens: Taylor 6
Yellow Card: McNicholl

For Taranaki:
Tries: Ormond, Baker, Penalty Try
Con: Rei
Pen: Rei

Canterbury: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Marshall Suckling, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Luke Whitelock (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Michell Dunshea, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Dan Lienert-Brown
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Ben Matwijow, 20 Tom Sanders, 21 Jack Stratton, 22 Cameron McIntyre, 23 Milford Keresoma.

Taranaki: 15 Kurt Baker, 14 Jackson Ormond, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Charlie Ngatai (c), 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Codey Rei, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Toa Halafihi, 7 Berny Hall, 6 Mitchell Crosswell. 5 Blade Thomson, 4 Riki Hoeata, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Mitchell Graham
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Sione Lea, 18 Ryan Cocker, 19 Iopu Iopu-Aso, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Kylem O'Donnell, 22 Liam McBride, 23 Latu Vaeno

Referee: Nick Briant
Assistant Referees: Shane McDermott, Damian Botherway
TMO: Glenn Newman