Taranaki 26
Counties Manukau 19

The Sharknado franchise managed to pump out six films heavily leaning on the fact that the concept was so bad the audience couldn't take their eyes off it.

There was a similar allure to Taranaki's 26-19 win over Counties Manukau in Pukekohe tonight. Taranaki's first touch of the football - a kick out on the full from No.10 Daniel Waite - was a sign of things to come.

The match had its highlights: Tevita Nabura finding himself on the right end of a kick deftly put across by Nigel Ah Wong to score a try; Seta Tamanivalu busting through tackles at every opportunity; Toni Pulu warding off seven tacklers on his way to scoring a try; Lachlan Boshier.


But for every highlight, there were a handful of errors, head-scratchers or otherwise - props putting kicks through in open play, Manasa Mataele dropping almost everything he got his hands to, blatant penalties and, keeping with the theme of the night, referee Nick Briant was – let's call it 'lenient' - with his knock-on decisions.

Comedic as it was at times, there was no tuning out for fear of missing the next ridiculous passage of play. And when all was said and done, Taranaki were lucky they could defend their line.

It proved to be the difference in the scoreline and Counties Manukau could not make the most of sustained periods of pressure in the first half. Taranaki were lucky to go into the break 12-8 down, as outside of Boshier running in the first try thanks to a Tamanivalu break, they failed to launch an attack that looked even close to threatening.

A crash ball to Kalolo Tuiloma got the hosts on the board before Nabura crossed soon after, but after halftime it was all Taranaki.

A lack of discipline hurt both sides, but the visitors made more of the penalties they were awarded, with Beaudien Waaka slotting three from the tee.

The fullback scored every point for Taranaki in the second half, adding two tries – one immediately after the Pulu effort - and a conversion to increase his lead as the competition's top points scorer.

The result leaves Counties Manukau sitting like an anchor at the bottom of the Premiership ladder with three losses in as many matches, while Taranaki join leaders Tasman and Auckland at the top of the ladder on nine points.

Taranaki 26 (Beaudien Waaka 2, Lachlan Boshier tries; Waaka con, 3 pen)
Counties Manukau 19 (Kalolo Tuiloma, Tevita Nabura, Toni Pulu tries; Latiume Fosita con, Luteru Laulala con)
HT: 8-12