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Canterbury triumph in NPC semi-final

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 23/10/2016
Jordie Barrett in action for Canterbury. © Getty Images Jordie Barrett in action for Canterbury.

A near-faultless defensive display from Canterbury has driven the side to a 22-7 NPC semi-final win over Counties Manukau.

The two sides put on a gritty encounter in Christchurch, as the home side put up a wall against their northern opponents.

Canterbury scored three tries to one, including one to new All Blacks apprentice Jordie Barrett, and will contest the Premiership final at home next week.

Their opponents will be the winner of Taranaki and Tasman in New Plymouth on Sunday afternoon.

An early Barrett penalty gave his side a small buffer moving forward, before pressure from Canterbury finally paid off in the 21st minute through hooker Ben Funnell.

Both sides held firm in defence despite repeatedly coming under the cosh, but Canterbury pushed further ahead with a Barrett try four minutes before the break.

Ahead 17-0 at half-time, Canterbury threatened to score on several occasions at the beginning of the second half but couldn't breach the Steelers rear-guard.

Steelers gun Jordan Taufua then clawed one back for his side when he collapsed over the line in the 60th minute, but the try was ultimately in vain.

Cantabrian halfback Jack Stratton capitalised on an error at the Counties scrum to score and put the match to bed in the 67th minute.

The victory will be especially satisfying for Canterbury after losing to Counties in Pukekohe last week.

"The guys showed a lot of heart," Canterbury skipper Luke Whitelock said.

"It was awesome to come back and get the result."

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