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Reiko Ioane seals Auckland win over Taranaki

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Lynn McConnell     23 Aug 2015     Getty Images

Ioane, who came on as a substitute, marked his Auckland debut with a stunning 78th minute try to seal the win.

The success halted the run of losses the home team had suffered to Taranaki last season while last season's champions are still winless after two games.

Spring-like conditions greeted the sides and the play reflected the spirit of an oncoming summer, although the free nature of play meant mistake levels were higher than the management of both sides would have preferred.

Some impressive power play from both sides resulted in some spectacular tries.

Auckland wing Ben Lam provided the first 16 minutes into the game when unleashing a strong fend on lock Mitchell Brown to charge 40m with an in-out move on fullback James Marshall to score the first try.

Six minutes from half-time after fullback Lolagi Visinia joined the line off an inside-pass from first five-eighths Simon Hickey, it was second five-eighths George Moala who used his strength to power his way through the defence to score.

But Taranaki were not to be outdone. When Lam and No.8 Akira Ioane messed up ball that should have been cleared on their 22m, Taranaki pounced. A penalty was conceded and a tap penalty taken by Taranaki halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi led to centre Sean Wainui scoring wide out in the 31st minute.

Moala, had a pass intercepted and centre Charlie Ngatai cleared out to score after 49 minutes.

All Black Charles Piutau was a constant menace for Taranaki. His strong running demanded plenty of defensive attention and he was unlucky that a superb break he made in the first minute of the second half did not produce greater reward.

He put flanker Joe Edwards away down the sideline but Edwards was hit in the tackle by wing Kurt Baker and was unable to ground the ball. However, all was not completely lost as in the resulting play, smart work between brothers, halfback Jono and Simon Hickey, on the blindside of a ruck for Simon to score.

After first five-eighths Marty McKenzie landed a 70th minute penalty goal, his third of the game, Taranaki turned on the pressure and a chance, after a break by replacement centre Seta Taimanavalu, went begging. Then as the ball was moved from a lineout after Auckland's clearance, it was Taimanavalu who dropped the pass.

It was seized by Rieko Ioane and there was no halting him from 60 metres out to claim the win.

Scorers: Auckland 30 (Ben Lam, George Moala, Simon Hickey, Rieko Ioane tries; Jono Hickey 2 con, 2 pen) Taranaki 24 (Sean Wainui, Charlie Ngatai tries; Marty McKenzie con, 3 pen; Codey Rei pen). HT: 20-16