Auckland 54 Poverty Bay 3

Key Points:

Three tries in the last 15 minutes gave Auckland a 54-3 win over Poverty Bay in their Ranfurly Shield rugby defence today.

Ahead 35-3 at halftime, a scoreline blowout was expected but Poverty Bay made the holders wait until the 65th minute before second five-eighth Winston Stanley scored the fifth of his side's eight tries.

"It was an awesome performance, I'm proud of every player out there today," Poverty Bay coach Paul Feeney said.

"I was nervous before the match. I didn't want this group of players to be embarrassed and there was always that possibility but to hold them to 14-3 for 28 minutes of the first half and then keep them scoreless for 25 minutes after halftime speaks volumes for the size of their hearts.

"They (Auckland) scored tries when fatigue finally set in and we had a couple of players suffering with cramp."

Auckland first five-eighth Lachie Munro opened the scoring with the first of his two tries after breaking a tackle and dotting down under the crossbar.

Halfback Taniela Moa caused Poverty Bay problems with his strong running while locks Jay Williams and Stan Haukinima ruled the lineouts.

"With their size that was to be expected," Poverty Bay skipper and first five-eighth Scott Leighton said.

"But I think it's fair to say we gave them some problems, particularly in the second half when we had a couple of opportunities to score tries."

Auckland, however, were determined not to have their line crossed, which they achieved.

Auckland 54 (Lachie Munro 2, Chris Lowrey 2, Winston Stanley, Jarek Goebel, Mikaele Pesamino, Ben Atiga tries; Munro 5 con, Atiga 2 con) Poverty Bay 3 (Scott Leighton pen). Halftime: 35-3.

- NZPA