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Northland rekindle Mitre 10 Cup hopes

Newshub logoNewshub 14/09/2018 Grant Chapman
Northland flanker Kara Pryor surveys the Manawatu defence. © Image - Photosport, video - Sky Sport Northland flanker Kara Pryor surveys the Manawatu defence.

A dominant opening half has carried Northland to a much-needed 49-19 Mitre 10 Cup win over Manawatu at Whangarei.

The rivals entered the contest with identical one-win/three-loss records near the bottom of the championship table, desperately needing victory to keep their semi-final hopes alive.

The visiting Turbos opened the scoring with a try to winger James Tofa in the third minute, but that was as close as they got.

Tries to number eight Matt Matich, prop Jordan Olsen and winger Jordan Hyland in the space of six minutes helped the home side to 29 unanswered points and a 34-12 advantage at half-time.

If Manawatu harboured any hopes of a second-half comeback, they need to be the first to score after the break. Instead, they conceded a controversial length-of-the-field try that effectively ended those slim hopes.

As the Turbos pressed on attack, a long, loose pass left was collected by Northland fullback Matt Wright and flanker Kara Pryor finished the counterattack at the other end.

Referee Michael Winter referred the try for video review for what seemed like a knock-on by Wright, but was given the all clear to award five-points that knocked the stuffing out of Manawatu.

Their task became impossible, when prop Sione Asi was yellow-carded with 12 minutes remaining. Northland second-five Blake Hohaia added to his side's points haul and forward Adrian Wyrill had the proverbial consolation try for the Turbos with time almost up.

Perhaps the brightest spot for Manawatu - and the Blues - was the return of first-five Otere Black, who has almost an entire year of rugby, injuring his knee in last year's provincial competition, shortly after signing a contract for the Auckland-based Super Rugby outfit.   

Northland 49 (Matt Matich, Jordan Olsen, Jordan Hyland, Jack Debreczeni, Scott Gregory, Kara Pryor & Blake Hohaia tries; Debreczeni two penalties & four conversions) Manawatu 19 (James Tofa, Junior Laloifi & Adrian Wyrill tries; Sam Malcolm & Otene Black conversions)

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