Rare first defeat for Canterbury

Date published: September 25 2014

North Harbour pulled off a famous 29-24 victory over ITM Cup holders and leaders Canterbury on Wednesday at the North Shore City.

This really was a stunning upset considering the pedigree of these two teams coming into the contest, with Canterbury top of the ITM Cup Premiership and North Harbour bottom of the Championship.

Marshalled well by centre Matt McGahan, who scored nine points, North Harbour went behind after only 16 seconds to a try from Nathaniel Apam with Codie Taylor doubling the advantage not long after.

However rather than the usual script of Canterbury running away with the contest, North Harbour hit back.

Leigh Thompson’s try put them on the board and further tries from Tevita Li and hooker James Parson gave the home side the lead before the interval.

Remarkably a bonus point shortly followed, a first for North Harbour this year and an impressive feat considering Canterbury had previously only conceded seven tries in six games.

Replacement back Nico Ratumaitavuki was the man to score it as North Harbour were forced to hold on to their lead.

A try from Willi Heinz and along with Richie Mo’unga’s penalty brought Canterbury within range at 29-24, but so it stayed in a surprising upset.

The scorers:

For North Harbour:
Tries: Thompson, Li, Parsons, Ratumaitavuki
Cons: McGahan 3
Pen: McGahan

For Canterbury:
Tries: Apa, Taylor, Heinz
Cons: Mo’unga 3
Pen: Mo’unga

North Harbour: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Luke Devcich, 13 Matt Vaega, 12 Matt McGahan, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Daniel Halangahu, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Leigh Thompson, 7 Josh Blucher, 6 Irwin Finau, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Gerard Tuioti-Mariner, 3 Nic Mayhew, 2 James Parsons, 1 Greg Pleasants.
Replacements: 16 Ray Niuia, 17 Alex Woonton, 18 Brandon Nansen, 19 Zac Judge, 20 David Bason, 21 Nico Ratumaitavuki, 22 Denis Pili.

Canterbury: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Nathaniel Apa, 13 Adam Whitelock, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Rob Thompson, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Luke Whitelock (coffee), 7 Jed Brown, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 JJ Manning, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Alex Hodgman.
Replacements: 16 Seb Siataga, 17 Sione Faletau, 18 Scott Barrett, 19 Nasi Manu, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Brett Mather, 22 Patrick Osborne.

Venue: North Harbour Stadium