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Taranaki too strong for Wellington

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 9/10/2016
File image of Stephen Perofeta © David Davies/Press Association File image of Stephen Perofeta

Taranaki have leapfrogged up rugby's NPC premiership table into second place with a 54-31 win over championship outfit Wellington on Sunday.

Taranaki ran in seven tries to Wellington's four, recording just their second win in five years at Westpac Stadium.

Coming off last week's 39-34 loss to premiership front-runners Canterbury, and with only one match remaining until the semi-finals, Taranaki desperately needed a win.

Flanker Iopu Iopu-Aso kick-started proceedings with his eighth-minute try, young fullback Stephen Perofeta grabbing an opportunistic second when Wellington's defence bumbled a Marty McKenzie bomb.

With McKenzie's kicking game on song, and on the back of some outstanding defence, Taranaki took a 20-3 lead into halftime.

They wasted no time in adding to their tally after the restart when No.8 Toa Halafihi dived over from close range after three minutes.

Seta Tamanivalu touched down for the bonus point try after 51 minutes, then some soft Wellington defence allowing Perofeta to cross soon after for the second of his three tries.

Trailing 42-3, Wellington finally found some momentum when Taranaki were reduced to 14 men with sin binning of replacement prop Jared Proffit as the hour march approached.

Alex Fidow dived over from close range to regain some respectability for the home team, but Jackson Ormond and Perofeta dotted down for Taranaki to stretch out the margin again.

Wing Joe Hill grabbed one back for Wellington, with James Blackwell and Mark Reddish crossing in the last four minutes to round out the high-scoring match.

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