Taranaki survive Canterbury Shield bid

Getty Images     16 Sep 2012     Getty Images

Typically, it was the 76th minute before the Shield was safe, courtesy of a try to flanker Scott Waldrom. It followed a sniping break by second five-eighths Jayden Hayward and was created after a downfield kick was dropped by No.8 Nasi Manu in his own 22m area.

While the difficult conditions reduced the quality of the performance there was no lack of excitement as the Cantabrians threw everything at their challenge only to come up short.

The fact they didn't score a try told the story of their defensive effort.

Wind and rain drove down the ground in Canterbury's favour in the first half but they weren't able to capitalise on it.

Penalty goals were exchanged by Taranaki wing Frazier Climo and Canterbury first five-eighths Tyler Bleyendaal in the fourth and 14th minutes respectively.

Canterbury halfback Andy Ellis gave his side initial impetus with one set-up for a startling break by second five-eighths Ryan Crotty. With flanker George Whitelock in support played surged deep into the Taranaki 22m area, however, when it appeared the try was on the ball was dropped, and it was to be the frustration of the afternoon.

At one stage Taranaki first five-eighths James Marshall attempted to put a penalty kick into touch only to see it blown back into the field of play. Canterbury launched but this time it was prop Nepo Laulala who was unable to grasp the ball.

It had consequences, however, as from the scrum, Marshall broke to get the gap between Ellis and Bleyendaal. He sped ahead, linked with Hayward and then stayed in support for the return pass to score a fine try in the 33rd minute.

Bleyendaal landed a 39th penalty goal to reduce the margin and he followed up by opening the scoring in the second half with a 38m penalty goal into the wind.

Canterbury went close in the 56th minute when Bleyendaal got over, but referee Garratt Williamson ruled an earlier transfer from centre Robbie Fruean, who was fed into a gap by Ellis, was ruled forward. Taranaki was able to clear and then back in Canterbury's half, they won a penalty but Climo missed his third shot of the day.

Six minutes later a change of kicker failed to produce a success when Jack Cameron missed from a handy distance.

But in the 66th minute Cameron was able to punish a side entrance to a ruck by Manu.

Cameron was a handy replacement and put his knowledge of the local ground to good efford with driving kicks into the corner and it was a lesson absorbed by his team-mates, none moreso than when No.8 Manu dropped a ball in his own 22m area five minutes from the end.

It was a classic Shield contest, especially in the conditions. Home flanker Scott Waldrom sniped all day and was effective in support play with good support from blindside flanker Jarrad Hoeta.

Hooker Ben Funnell had a lively game for Canterbury, especially in the close quarter support play. Ellis showed his experience time and again and was a constant nuisance around scrums while his tactical kicking demonstrated.

Taranaki 18 (James Marshall, Scott Waldrom tries; Frazier Climo con, pen; Jack Cameron pen) Canterbury 9 (Tyler Bleyendaal 3 pen). HT: 10-6