Rugby: Northland end two year losing streak

By Andrew Johnsen

Kara Pryor was instrumental in Northland's first win of the season. Photo / Tania Whyte
Kara Pryor was instrumental in Northland's first win of the season. Photo / Tania Whyte

Two years of pain came to a shuddering halt as Northland defeated Waikato 48-27, ending a 19-game Mitre 10 Cup losing streak.

Northland played like a team without burden, not afraid to chance their arm. That mentality paid off in a big way.

Coupled with Waikato making plenty of uncharacteristic mistakes, it seemed the stars had aligned for the Taniwha.

Jordan Hyland opened the scoring for the hosts after some brilliant phase play from Northland. A try to barnstorming prop Phil Kite added to the lead.

The returning Matt Moulds showed how much he has been missed with a huge display of grit and a touch of class, while Kara Pryor and Matt Matich had their trademark big performances.

Peter Breen had a day out himself, kicking 23 points and proving why he is one of the better first fives in the competition.

Waikato looked bereft of ideas, particularly during the first spell. Maybe the consecutive defeats to Counties Manukau and Canterbury were playing heavily on their mind.

They had more immediate things to worry about though as Northland ran rampant through the middle of the field.

Jone Macilai, Pryor and Matich provided the highlight of the day, combining for a mesmerising display of running rugby to give Matich a try.

Waikato hit back shortly after in a rare foray into Northland's 22. Quick passes led to a try for Jordan Trainor.

However any joy was short-lived joy for the away side as Northland piled on multiple phases and sent it wide for Macilai to score the bonus point try right before halftime.

Breen kicked a beauty from the side-line to give the Taniwha a commanding 32-8 lead at halftime.

Waikato coach Sean Bortherway made wholesale changes at the break, and it paid immediate dividends as Iliesa Ratuva split the defence to score under the posts.

Both sides then looked to play expansively with Warren Dunn and Sevu Reece trading big runs.

Waikato prop Sefo Kautai matched his opposite's earlier effort with a barging try of his own and when captain Whetu Douglas crossed after some individual brilliance from Trainor, an unlikely comeback was on the cards.

However a trio of penalties from Breen and a well-deserved try to second five Dan Hawkins kept Waikato at bay, finally giving Northland fans something to cheer about.

Northland next take on North Harbour while Waikato will look to stop the rot against Hawke's Bay.

Northland 48 (Jordan Hyland, Phil Kite, Matt Matich, Jone Macilai, Dan Hawkins tries, Peter Breen 4 con, 5 pen)
Waikato 27 (Jordan Trainor, Iliesa Ratuva, Sefo Kautai, Whetu Douglas tries, Trainor 2 con, pen)
HT: 32-8

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 03 Dec 2016 15:26:15 Processing Time: 559ms