The "hardest week" Taranaki captain Craig Clarke has had in his rugby career ended on a high yesterday when his side thrashed Southland 47-18.
"It was bloody tough, losing the (Ranfurly) Shield the way we did and having to play again so quickly, but we got there in the end and that's all that matters," he said.
Clarke was not happy with his side's performance in the first half because they had really focused on bringing "some energy" to the game.
"We couldn't though," he said. "We couldn't hold the ball and build pressure and our ruck area was below standard again. But the last 15 minutes, when we built some phases, we were good."
Clarke was delighted his long-term locking partner, Jason Eaton, played a considerable role in his 50th game.
His try-saving tackle in the first half kept Taranaki in the game, in Clarke's eyes, anyway.
"If they had scored then, we would really have been under the pump and it was a huge moment. It was typical of him to have that sort of moment, though, because he still has some X-factor."
One player who really brought an edge to the Taranaki backline when he came on was Jayden Hayward. He scored a fantastic try from inside his own half which appeared to spark his team into life.
"I just looked up and there was a hole there, so I hoped I would get the pass," he said.
"We said at halftime that we needed to hold on to the pill and build some phases and we would come away with points, and that's what happened."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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