Nth Harbour Stadium
I think the scoreline flattered Auckland a little, but its points on the board that counts.
A good halftime lead, 25-9, was enough to coast home in the 2nd half, with some solid defence. Two early tries by Williams and Tanivula was followed up by a game breaker effort by Tane Tuipolotu. A crucial " ball out " decision by the Ref, at a turnover to Harbour, gifted Auckland the try.
Cribb and Flavell battled away for Harbour, but both were guilty of discipline infringements which would harm their AllBlack chances. The 2nd half seemed to deteriorate into a lot of turnovers and handling errors. Not an advert for night rugby.
McAlister kept Harbour in with a sniff with his faultless display kicking five from five. Sione Lauaki wrapped it up for Auckland with 10m to go and the 4 try bonus point.
I have to say, a lot of these names in the Auckland backline are causing me a few problems. At this early stage in the competition I'm pretty worried about Auckland's chances. The defence has been excellent, but the scrum and turnover ball is giving me concerns. I think a Taranaki and Waikato team could exploit these weaknesses.