Mitre 10 Cup Week Two: CANvTAS Match of the Round

Mitre 10 Cup Week Two: CANvTAS Match of the Round

At the end of the Mitre 10 Cup Week Two schedule, one clash was more significant. The CANvTAS game was certainly the match of the round, with the victor taking a superior position on the table.

While their provincial rivalry might be short-lived – played 17, from 2007-2018 – the Crusaders regional contest between Canterbury and the Tasman Mako has been at a Premiership-level in the last few seasons. A top-tier fixture, even if it is just week two of this ten-week season. A short window yes, yet full of energy, with many local derby games to enjoy.

Week two saw many contest for neighboring unions, and Super Rugby partners:

  • Thursday: Northland 10 Auckland 43
  • Friday: North Harbour 25 Counties-Manukau 39 | Hawke’s Bay 27 Wellington 27 (draw)
  • Saturday: Manawatu 10 Taranaki 13 | Otago 41 Southland 22
  • Sunday: Bay of Plenty 40 Waikato 14

With those early results known, much of the focus in the Premiership was on the Canterbury v Tasman (CANvTAS) clash in Christchurch.

Mitre 10 Cup Week Two: CANvTAS match of the round

On a sunny afternoon, the ground was not full but were supremely respectful of a minutes silence, held in the memory of Canterbury and All Blacks halfback, Bruce Deans.

Each side parried the other but it only took the visitors four minutes to set Levi Aumua up for the first try. Positive attitude, and with a good degree of defence, the Canterbury side could not answer in kind. A penalty assisted them, as it did with Tasman until some majic on the left-wing.

A highlight of the opening half was no doubt, the below try. 55 meters out, there is no way that Leicester Faingaanuku should have been able to beat that many defenders.

Half time arrived, with the visitors surprisingly holding Canterbury to just a single penalty. At 3-18, it was a very good account of the confidence that the Mako has against their rivals. To demonstrate that last seasons regular competition win could be repeated.

That game was in nelson, so the visitor’s desire to beat Canterbury in ‘red and black country’ was admirable. An indication that was that straight after Josh McKay try, an immediate response was made from the Mako. Popular player Shannon Frizell scored from a lineout drive. The perfect play, and an answer to the Canterbury threat.

That required good defence, and over and over, the hosts would mount attacks that came close but, were unsuccessful. Right to the last few moments, still trying yet, an uncharacteristic day for Canterbury. Unable to strike, the weight of possession and a less than successful attack, cost them the win.

Keeping their unblemished record, even if the bonus point avoided them, this CANvTAS encounter was pivotal. It boosted the Mako conviction and has put a real dent in the defending champions goals.

Canterbury suffer second loss, Tasman Mako in top spot

Two losses will immediately throw pressure on Joe Maddock and his group. They will find it harder from here, to then travel to Wellington and not have the luxury of meeting a Championship team – considered a less threatening challenge – until Week Four. It is a new challenge to the champions 2019 campaign. Not what many presumed preseason.

For the Tasman Mako, this weekend’s CANvTAS outcome was near-perfect. It puts to bed any doubts on their credentials. They are one of the Premierships leaders now, sitting happily in first place. Their +52 points differential has them positioned above Auckland; who suffered a draw in Week One. That particular result will be critical when the playoffs come around.

If this team retains that place, then a home semifinal will allow them the best opportunity to seal a home final place. They can thank Bay of Plenty too in defeating Waikato, that has held back the Premiership side. All the while, it is now a ‘must-win season’ for Canterbury. The same can be said for Wellington and North Harbour, who are each are still to face the under-pressure Canterbury team.

The 2019 Mitre 10 Cup season may only be two weeks in yet, there is still so much to look forward to.


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