Blackout one way to deter Canterbury

THE OLD DAYS: Taranaki wing James Kerr looks for a way round the Canterbury defence during the 2002 game at Yarrow Stadium.
THE OLD DAYS: Taranaki wing James Kerr looks for a way round the Canterbury defence during the 2002 game at Yarrow Stadium.

The Cake Tin blackout in the All Blacks-Argentina test on Saturday may have been a first for Wellington and for test rugby but it wasn't a first in New Zealand rugby.

Remember back a few years . . . well 10 to be precise: October 4, 2002 - the first game under lights at the redeveloped Yarrow Stadium.

Taranaki was up against an All Blacks-stacked Canterbury lineup and seven minutes into the National Provincial Championship first division match, with the home side up 7-0 thanks to a Brent Thompson try and a conversion by Daryl Lilley, the lights went out.

It pitched the stadium, which had been officially opened less than an hour earlier, into darkness.

The Taranaki fans would have happily had the match called off then and there.

It was another seven minutes before the lights on the four big towers started to come back on - one by one - with the match restarting another eight minutes later.

When the match resumed, Taranaki wing Shayne Austin crossed for a try to stretch the lead to 12-0 after 20 minutes.

But, in the end, the Canterbury machine rumbled into gear, pushing out to a 17-12 lead at halftime and then to 27-15 before adding three late tries to inflate the score to 46-15.

The Canterbury side included several All Blacks or players who would go on to wear the black jersey. Also in their lineup was former Taranaki centre Mark Robinson, who went on to become chief executive of the Taranaki Rugby Football Union.

Interestingly enough, two of the Canterbury reserves in 2002 are now wearing amber and black - prop Chris King and hooker Laurence Corlett.

While this Saturday's Ranfurly Shield defence against Canterbury will be played in the afternoon, Taranaki and their supporters will be hoping for a blackout of Canterbury on the scoreboard.

CANTERBURY 46 (Mark Hammett 2, Aaron Mauger, Mark Robinson, Justin Marshall, Ben Blair tries; Blair 2 pens, 5 cons) TARANAKI 15 (Brent Thompson, Shayne Austin tries; Daryl Lilley pen, con). Halftime: Canterbury 17-12.

TARANAKI: Daryl Lilley, Shayne Austin, James Kerr, Johnny Stewart, Matthew Harvey, Mark Urwin, Brendan Haami, Chris Masoe, Neil Crowley, Reece Robinson, Paul Tito (captain), Brent Thompson, Gordon Slater, Andrew Hore, Jason Hooper. Reserves, forwards, Daniel Smith, Tama Tuirirangi, Scott Breman, Richard Bryant; backs, Denning Tyrell, Mepi Faoagali, Chris Woods.

CANTERBURY: Ben Blair; Marika Vunibaka, Mark Robinson, Joe Maddock, Aaron Mauger (co-captain), Daniel Carter, Justin Marshall, Scott Robertson, Johnny Leo'o, Norm Maxwell, Chris Jack, Sam Broomhall, Greg Somerville, Mark Hammett (co-captain), David Hewett. Reserves: Scott Hamilton, Nathan Mauger, Ben Hurst, Richard McCaw, Matt Dalzell, Chris King, Laurence Corlett.

Taranaki Daily News