Development side lose two on the bounce
The Taranaki Development team were beaten as much by their own lack of patience as by the opposition in their Northern Regions match at Tikorangi on Saturday.
The 17-5 loss to the Auckland Colts, who had previously not won a match in this year's competition, was the team's second straight defeat, and coach Ngatai Walker said mistakes caused by a lack of patience on attack were hurting the team.
"The effort was there and we were more physical at ruck time and defensively than we had been the previous week, but we weren't patient," Walker said. "We had three or four chances in the first half that we didn't finish, and they scored the first time they got down into our 22."
Despite the wet weather and a lot of water on the Clifton ground, both teams attempted to shift the ball from the kickoff and prospects looked bright when Taranaki Development scored from a rolling maul to take a 5-0 lead.
But as the ground became heavier and mistakes were made, points became difficult to come by, and it was the Auckland Colts who grabbed a 7-5 halftime lead when scoring a converted try.
The second half followed the pattern of the first, with the Auckland Colts pouncing on two Taranaki Development mistakes to score tries – both from kick errors – and leaving the home team to ponder what might have been.
The defeat means Taranaki Development will need to win their remaining three games to have any chance of defending the title they won when going through the competition unbeaten last year. The team play Waikato away this weekend before taking on the two sides ahead of them in the competition – North Harbour and undefeated Auckland.
Despite the loss there were some good performances. Openside flanker Dylan Juffermans, back after a week's rest, was strong on attack and defence, reserve prop Paulo Leleisiuao made an impact and hooker Sione Lea toiled hard in the wet.
▪The Taranaki under-19 team lost their opening game 32-28 to Southland at the national Jock Hobbs Memorial Tournament at Taupo on Sunday and will now play for the tournament's minor placings.
Playing in the second tier competition, the Michael Jones Trophy, Taranaki were beaten despite the opposition playing most of the second half with 14 men.
Taranaki led 21-13 at halftime but when Southland had a player red carded for a tip tackle just after the break, it appeared to galvanise the southerners.