Northland were taught a lesson on how to score tries by Wellington as they were outscored five tries to one in front of a good crowd at Toll Stadium last night. The final score was 30-10.
Taniwha lock Tom Murday was the lone Northlander to cross the white chalk for the locals, despite the home side having large periods of possession and territory.
Northland were always up against it as the powerful Wellington Lions went about their work in fine style.
Wellington constantly looked like a threat as the Taniwha had to scramble on defence and were on the scoreboard early as hooker Motu Matu'u finished off some fine work from wing Matt Proctor in the second minute after a Northland mistake.
However, Northland were not about to let a five-point headstart stop them from showing their Taniwha fight. First-five Ben Seymour hit back with a penalty eight minutes later.
Murday crossed the line 10 minutes later, which was converted by Seymour, from a close in pick-and-go to give Wellington a fright as the scores sat at 10-all after 25 minutes.
The deadlock was broken, however, by an Ardie Savea breakaway try, again from a Northland mistake five minutes later.
Thankfully for Northland, Wellington pivot Lima Sopoaga was well off with the boot at Toll Stadium and as a result kept the locals in touch with the half-time score 15-10.
Northland had the better of the contest in the opening stages of the second stanza but again their execution let them down as they failed to find a way through Wellington's organised defence.
Eventually, Wellington's class shone through as their Super Rugby-stocked playing ranks had too much skill and experience for the Taniwha.
An Ambrose Curtis try extended Wellington's advantage in the 56th minute and secured the bonus point but Sopoaga's off-night with the tee continued as he missed the sideline conversion attempt.
Sopoaga finally got on the board when he banged over a close-range penalty mid-way through the second half, which added to the lead and when Wellington centre Tim Bateman scored in the 65th minute the result was confirmed.
Bronson Murray put in the hard yards in what was his 100th appearance for the region, getting around the field well and making plenty of tackles.
The Taniwha will have to lift their heads quickly and re focus as they head to Hawkes Bay for next Sunday's match.
Unfortunately for the Taniwha, Hawkes Bay lost the Ranfurly Shield to Counties Manukau on Saturday night, denying Northland a second shot within a month.
For statistical analysis, see the Northern Advocate later this week.
Result: Northland 10 (Tom Murday try; Ben Seymour pen, con); Wellington 30 (Motu Matu'u, Ross Filipo, Ardie Savea, Ambrose Curtis, Tim Bateman tries; Lima Sopoaga pen, con) HT: 15-10