A resurgent 2nd half from this very impressive Canterbury side carried them to a well-earned victory over a determined Counties-Manukau.
It would have been easy after last weekends awesome victory over Otago (tee hee hee!) to go into this game a little complacent. In fact with Richie McCaw not playing & Somerville still on the bench, many Cantabs thought the team was being more than complacent which is always dangerous, especially against a side like Counties.
And after the 1st half this fear was coming to fruition. Canterbury looked stale and unmotivated. Counties where playing out of their skins. The very impressive Loki Creighton was going great guns at 1st five, setting alight a dangerous backline. The Counties forwards where more than matching up against their much vaunted opponents.
After a grilling one can only presume from Steve Hansen, Canty came out firing in the 2nd half. They appeared to step on the peddle a bit, and Counties didn't have the ability to compete. The Canty scrum began to dominate. The loosies started making inroads, and from then on it was history.
However when Afato was subbed for Marika TitsForHandsICan'tDiveOnLooseBalls Vuninbaka, I personally thought Canty was doomed! "Don't pass it too him!!!" was yelled frequently by yours truly. Then the inevitiable. A loose ball. Vuninbaka ran around it. Looked at it. And that was about it. "Dive on it you stupid pr*ck!" was yelled by me. Of course he didn't. I summed it up pretty damn well I thought by growling "Dumb a*rse!".
He SLIGHTLY redemed himself by scoring 2 tries though I must admit...
: - )
Scott Robertson in this game again looked AB No.8 material. His speed and strength from the back of the scrum is quite unbelievable. This has to be his spot after not quite making it as an openside.
Everybody is talking about the Mauger brothers. Everybody in Canty knew how good Aaron was. But its obvious his brother is just as talented if not better. He reminds me alot of Bruce Robertson the former AB no. 13. His runs hard and direct, has got good hands, and is an excellent tackler. What more could you want from a centre? Aaron Mauger is adding value to his game by making a good fist of the 2nd five position. Canty are seemingly following the example set by the Pom's (Wilkinson & Catt) by having 2 1st fives in the inside centre positions. This means having 2 playmakers, a huge advantage! I believe this is the reason why Nathan Mauger, MacDonald, Blair, Ralph etc have been cutting teams to ribbons.
Its great to see Mehrtens showing his true worth as well. Even Marshall is looking good! His passing doesn't seem half as laboured as normal.
Brad Thorn is making great strides as a lock. It sounds like he's getting homesick for Brisbane, so he might not be around next season. But he's proving to be one of the few league converts that have succeeded coming from the forwards.
For Counties, Loki was the standout. Also Tukino was prominant in the loose. Also their replacement prop who looked a grizzly little sh*t. You know? The one with the shaved head! Can't remember his name! He played well.
The next 4 weeks are a nightmare for the Cantabs. First up is our bogey team as well. Bloody Wellington!