Taranaki have opened up a six-point gap between themselves and bottom-placed Bay Of Plenty after a scrappy 21-3 win at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth.
A week after being humiliated in their Ranfurly Shield challenge against Counties Manukau, Taranaki lifted themselves off the floor to ease some tension for veteran coach Colin Cooper.
The stop-start game was reflective of the two sides positions on the premiership table, although things were not helped by referee Jonathon White referring so many decisions to the television match official or stopping the game to look at the big screen.
The first half was generally a tough watch for the 4861 who turned upfor the bottom of the premiership clash.
It was made all the more harder after Bay Of Plenty turned up without an alternative strip, leaving those in the crowd bemused at which team actually had the ball at times.
Just how the New Zealand Rugby Union allowed this to happen is anyone's guess but it showed again the lack of attention it is giving its domestic competition.
Taranaki managed to figure out who was on whose side a little bit better than their opposites, getting out to a 14-3 lead at the break off the back of a Blade Thomson try and three penalties from Andre Taylor.
The visitors would have had cause to feel a bit aggrieved after Tanerau Latimer try was ruled out by the TMO for crossing in front of the ball carrier.
It was a 50/50 call, at best, but another example of when things are going wrong, they go wrong most of the time.
Still, Bay Of Plenty did little else in the first half except kick for territory as Willie Ripia sat back in the pocket and let his boot do the talking.
At least Taranaki tried to show a bit of adventure, even if it did look difficult at times.
They carried it on in the second half and were first to score when Kurt Baker was given a try, even through it appeared there was a forward pass back on halfway.
The Bay Of Plenty players certainly thought so as they walked back for a scrum.
Somehow the TMO thought it was OK, much to the disbelief of most people at the ground who rightfully gave him a cheer.
At 21-3 it was always going to be tough for Bay Of Plenty to come back, especially after they had a physical game against Southland three days earlier.
Still, they are going to need a major form reversal to stay up in the premiership because they offered very tonight.
Taranaki (Blade Thomson, Kurt Baker tries; Andre Taylor 3 pens, con) Bay of Plenty (Willie Ripia pen). HT: 14-3.
- Fairfax Media
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