A decent first half of rugby was all Taranaki needed to get past Bay Of Plenty 41-3 in their NPC crossover match this afternoon.
Played in perfect conditions as Yarrow Stadium, it looked like Taranaki were going to record their second record win in a week after they started with plenty of purpose.
Taranaki bagged a bonus point in the first 40 minutes as they took advantage of some poor Bay Of Plenty defence to cross for five tries.
The 34-3 scoreline fitted the first half domination the home side enjoyed as they easily led all the statistics.
While it took Taranaki 10 minutes to open the scoring through a Marty McKenzie penalty, the tires started flowing at a quick rate.
Codey Rei was first to cross after he scampered 50m following a turnover. The Bay Of Plenty forwards must have wondered what had gone on because just seconds earlier they were packing down an attacking scrum, only to lose a tighthead and for the side's backs to fail in their reorganisation.
It was a familiar theme for the remainder of the half.
The visitors were not helped when wing Siaosi Longi got himself badly offside when Taranaki were just metres from the line.
Although Taranaki scored through Blade Thomson, referee Aki Aso pulled out a yellow card for Longi.
From that point Bay Of Plenty really struggled as they conceded another three tries as Taranaki found plenty of holes right across the opposition's defensive line.
For a team which struggled to score tries last season, Taranaki have found their attacking mojo. That was evident by the 34-3 scoreline as the teams left at the end of 40 minutes.
If the first half was full of excitement and quality rugby, the second was the opposite.
Obviously feeling the effects of three games in 10 days, Taranaki failed to reignite their attack, while Bay Of Plenty showed a lot more steel.
They went close to opening their try scoring account midway through the half only for the television match official to rule Doug Edwards had got over the line in two movements.
Try as they might, both sides just lacked the edge to finish off the chances they created, with Taranaki probably the more wasteful.
They finally got their six try when McKenize dived over to push the score out to 41-3, although the wait for the TMO to finally award it was as anti-climatic as the second half.
Taranaki now have six days to freshen up before they face their last crossover match against Southland, while Bay Of Plenty have to back up on Wednesday against Manawatu at Palmerston North.
Taranaki 41 (Blade Thomson, Waisake Naholo, Charlie Ngatai, James Broadhurst, Codey Rei, Marty McKenzie tries; McKenzie 4 cons, pen) Bay of Plenty 3 (Dan Hollinshead pen). HT: 34-3.
- Taranaki Daily News
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