Slick Canterbury outfit romp to win over Waikato
The six-time champions are proving ruthless.
Canterbury look unstoppable in this year's ITM Cup after another slick showing in their second outing, putting Waikato away to the tune of 58-27 in Hamilton tonight.
Having hammered Auckland 48-9 last weekend, Canterbury racked up eight tries at Waikato Stadium to canter home over the Mooloos, who came into the game confident after beating Wellington away in round one.
But the 11,950 crowd went home somewhat stunned by the ease of which Canterbury did things.
It was a stunning start from the visitors, who raced in for three tries in the opening eight minutes to send shockwaves through the hosts.
With intelligent kicks in behind and slick, wide ball movement, the champs delivered a massive early statement.
In the first minute of the game an awful clearing kick from Albert Nikoro gave Canterbury a gift-wrapped chance, which they took well through a brilliant slicing run from Johnny McNicholl, who gave to Codie Taylor to finish in the left corner.
Soon after, Matt Todd was the recipient of a brilliant offload from the powerful Patrick Osborne, who brushed Damian McKenzie aside.
The Cantabs were running rampant and were nearly in again from the kickoff as they again spun it wide.
Joe Webber spilt a kick but fortunately for him so did Osborne.
However from the ensuing scrum the visitors hit centre field and Matt Symons drove over close to the line, with TMO Aaron Paterson confirming the try in quick time.
Not only were Waikato not seeing the ball, they didn't help themselves when they had the chance to. Canterbury piggy-backed downfield on the back of a penalty and then another one had Tyler Bleyendaal making it 20-0.
The reply from Waikato came in the form of some great vision from young talent McKenzie, with the first-five reaping turnover ball and kicking ahead from just outside his 22.
With no-one home, McKenzie's speed got him to the ball first and he gave to Joe Webber to finish.
Waikato then unleashed a secret weapon in the form of Nikoro's goalkicking boot, with the fullback landing an astonishing 58-metre shot at goal. He had a handy breeze behind him but it cleared with plenty to spare.
As the home side seemed to be getting back into the contest, their confidence was smacked once more as Canterbury notched their bonus point, thanks to brilliant work from Jed Brown, who broke away from a maul and flicked an offload to Milford Keresoma, who had come on for McNicholl - the speedster leaving with a knee injury.
Right on halftime Webber's twinkle toes almost had Waikato a second five-pointer, but on TMO inspection his foot had brushed the touchline and his side went to the sheds down 30-13.
They came out in the second half a different team though, Waikato, with lots of slick passing and a super chip and chase try down the blindside from captain Brad Weber seeing them close to 30-20.
But back-to-back Canterbury tries put the visitors right back into command-mode.
They hit back swiftly with Willi Heinz offloading for Bleyendaal to cross, then four minutes later Osborne was too strong close to the line.
Waikato continued the try-fest with a super one of their own, O'Donnell going on a fantastic long run and Weber finishing, but the red and blacks then brought up the half century with debutant Jack Goodhue reaching out.
Desperate to salvage a bonus point, Waikato looked likely in the dying stages, but Wharenui Hawera dropped a simple ball - the hosts' 15th handling error of the match - then in the last minute Tom Sanders crossed for Canterbury's eighth try to complete the rout.
Canterbury 58 (Codie Taylor, Matt Todd, Matt Symons, Milford Keresoma, Tyler Bleyendaal, Patrick Osborne, Jack Goodhue, Tom Sanders tries; Tyler Bleyendaal 2 con, 2 pen, Willi Heinz 3 con, Mitchell Drummond con) Waikato 27 (Joe Webber, Brad Weber 2 tries; Damian McKenzie 3 con, pen, Albert Nikoro pen) HT: 30-13.