Bay of Plenty 22
A top performance from first five-eights Beauden Barrett helped Taranaki open their ITM Cup account with a 37-22 win over the Bay of Plenty Steamers at Baypark Stadium today.
The classy operator chimed in with an intercept try among his 22 points and perfect kicking record.
In front of about 8000 it took time for combinations to work between last season's premier championship's third (Taranaki) and fourth (Steamers) place getters but Taranaki had too much class and grunt in their four-try bonus point win.
Both sides showed plenty of enterprise at the breakdown and looked to get their pace men room to show some of their magic. Steamers winger Lelia Masaga looked dangerous often beating the first tackler as did Taranaki wing Waisake Naholo.
Although the Steamers showed at times their scrum could compete, the blue and golds were often guilty of not enough urgency at the breakdown and making too many turnovers at crucial moments.
Bay of Plenty were kept in the game by Taranaki's mistakes rather than any real attacking creativity and, although Taranaki often found gaps in the Steamers' defence they struggled to finish with the final pass often going astray or being dropped.
Bay of Plenty 22 (Lelia Masaga, Culum Retallick, Lance MacDonald tries; Kenny Lynn pen, Nick McCashin 2 cons) Taranaki 37 (James Broadhurst, Waisake Naholo, Beauden Barrett, Jason Eaton tries; Barrett 4 cons, 3 pens). HT: 8-20.