Rugby: Taranaki battle back again for second

Taranaki staged their second straight come-from-behind win when they beat Northland 23-16 in a national provincial championship rugby match in Whangarei tonight.

Trailing 13-10 after an untidy first half, Taranaki held their form in the second half to overcome a feisty Northland who were seeking redemption after dropping their last match against Manawatu.

Northland, finding their rhythm early, charged into the lead with a couple of Lachie Munro penalties to lead 6-0 after 18 minutes.

Enterprising play saw centre Rene Ranger and fullback Jared Payne team up to create a chance for Northland which needed some good defence to snuff out.

Northland's opening try was created by a snap counter-attack launched with a chip kick by first five-eighth Jack McPhee from inside his 22m.

McPhee recovered his kick and let Ranger carry it on before another touch from him delivered a gift-wrapped try for second five-eighth Aaron Bancroft which was converted by Munro.

Taranaki came back into the game after 20 minutes of lack-lustre play with halfback Tyson Keats, flanker Scott Waldrom, lock and skipper Craig Clarke and wing Andre Taylor beginning to impose themselves on the game.

They were rewarded with two quick tries, Jayden Hayward punishing a loose Ranger pass with a runaway intercept try in the 32nd minute.

Another breakaway started by Taylor saw Clarke carry the ball on and his flip up to Laurence Corlett saw the hooker score a converted try which put the scoreline at 13-10 at halftime.

Taranaki, having beaten Waikato 30-23 in their previous outing after trailing by 14 points, had to dig themselves out of trouble again.

Young first five-eighth Beauden Barrett found his range in the second half to tie the scores with an early penalty.

Taranaki's third try came in the 64th minute after Northland conceded a 5m scrum leaving substitute hooker Mahonri Schwalger to tidy things up by dotting down after mesy play by both sides.

Barrett knocked over the conversion and then kicked a booming penalty from 55m out to seal the win over a tiring Northland.

Taranaki's second win of the season put them on nine points while it was Northland's second loss leaving them on five points.

- NZPA

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