The Yarrows Taranaki Bulls have continued their impressive opening to the 2019 Mitre 10 Cup with a compendious 52-19 victory over Northland at Yarrow Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
For the win, Taranaki's third from as many matches, the hosts ran in eight tries which delighted the crowd of just over 3000, many of whom enjoyed the new temporary seating close to the sideline.
Home fans' enjoyment was further enhanced with the growing belief and performance of the Taranaki team and a number of the side's non-Super XV players, like Jayson Potroz, Daniel Waite and Jackson Ormond. Ormond especially had a dream game and scored a double after he replaced Kini Naholo after just 11 minutes.
But after 10 minutes of the clash, and Northland's victory in last season's clash still fresh in the mind, Taranaki looked like doing anything but winning.
The visitors started impressively, good continuity leading to a try to Ross Wright. When Taranaki did get the ball it experienced a excess of handling errors, with a Tupou Vaa'i try being ruled out.
However, the shackles were finally broken in the 27th minute when Potroz, standing at first receiver inside Taranaki territory, went on a trademark, looping run that beguiled Northland, linking with Waite, who in turn set Sean Wainui away for the try.
It was then Northland's turn to get the wobbles, with Ormond latching onto some loose ball to send Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi in for a try. With Waite converting both, Taranaki went into the interval with a 14-7 advantage.
Less than a minute after the restart, Ormond was in for his first try after NZ Sevens rep Scott Gregory – who will have nightmares about the match – failed to take a Taranaki kick.
It set Taranaki on a point-scoring blitz as a hapless Northland fell apart.
The powerful Vaa'i finally got on the score sheet following a quick tap penalty, and Waite too got in on the act after Northland had cleared poorly.
Ormond added a second as well, again after Northland failed to take a Taranaki kick and in the space of just 20 minutes, the score had blown out to 45-7.
An extended injury break soon after changed the dynamics of the game, but not before Waite deservedly set Potroz up for a try.
Northland finished the match as it had started – brightly – two late tries giving some consolation.
As captain Mitchell Brown noted: "We were stoked to be home in front of the crowd. We know they (Northland) have big hearts, so we are very happy."
Taranaki's next match is against Tasman at Yarrow Stadium this coming Sunday.
At a glance:
Yarrows Taranaki Bulls: 52 (Tries: S Wainui 2, J Ormond 2, T T Tahuriorangi, T Vaa'i, D Waite, J Potroz, Cons:Waite 6 )
Northland: 19 (tries: R Wright, R Roberts-Tenana, C Te Whata-Colley, Cons: J Debreczeni 2).
Half Time: 14-7.