Rugby: Manawatu bounce back to beat Taranaki

Manawatu enjoyed a morale-boosting 12-6 win over Taranaki in Palmerston North today. Photo / Getty
Manawatu enjoyed a morale-boosting 12-6 win over Taranaki in Palmerston North today. Photo / Getty

Manawatu 12
Taranaki 6

Manawatu's defence went from porous to powerful in the space of three days, helping the Turbos to a morale-boosting 12-6 win over Taranaki in Palmerston North today.

After being handed their second-heaviest defeat in history in the 72-7 loss to Canterbury on Wednesday, Manawatu bounced back in style to earn their third win in the ITM Cup.

Miserable conditions at Arena Manawatu prevented anything resembling running rugby, turning the match into a grind and seeing both sides fail to cross the try line.

Jade Te Rure's four penalties made the difference for the home side, whose defence remained resolute in the face of some serious pressure from Premiership strugglers Taranaki.

Manawatu took a 6-3 lead to the break after a first half in which the level of play matched the dire conditions. Te Rure made two of his four shots at goal to give the hosts a slight edge, as both sides enjoyed only one real crack at the try line.

The first chance fell to the Turbos after 10 minutes but, after being driven over the line, Michael Fitzgerald saw the ball stripped from his grasp.

Taranaki dominated the half in territory and wreaked havoc at lineout time, with the set piece offering them the opportunity to score the game's opening try. But Rhys Marshall's clever short throw to Blade Thompson was ruled to have fallen short of five metres, denying the lock a five-pointer after he crashed over.

It was more of the same to open the second spell and, after Andre Taylor levelled the game with his second penalty, Te Rure knocked over his third to give his side another lead.

After soaking up some pressure to begin the half, Manawatu gradually came more into the contest, preventing Taranaki from pegging them back and looking more likely to add to their advantage.

And that happened courtesy of Te Rure's fourth penalty, wrapping up the scoring and sending the soggy Turbos fans home happy.

Manawatu 12 (Te Rure 4 pens)
Taranaki 6 (Taylor 2 pens)
HT: 6-3

- APNZ

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