Canterbury vs Auckland
Sat Oct 11 2.35pm
Fulltime Auckland 40 - Canterbury 31
Halftime Auckland 28 - Canterbury 16
To be honest, I thought Auckland had " No chance ". I even picked them to lose, based on Canterbury's form. I hoped we could maybe get a couple of bonus points and sneak into the semis.
As the score mounted, so did my doubts. Auckland's defence had been woeful this season and at halftime I wondered if the 2nd half would be their undoing.
Mehrtens was brilliant with his boot. I wondered, should he be in Aussie. But this is only an NPC game and not " Test Rugby " I reminded myself. The Red and Blacks were getting more possession, the scoreline was getting closer and Rush botched a try for Auckland..........bugger.
The penalty count was getting huge. And Mehrts kept kicking them. Is this guy gonna ever miss I thought. At last, Orene Ai'i scored and Atiga showed he's human by missing the conversion. More Canty pressure brought more penalties and a 33-31 scoreline.
It was 5 tries to one and I remembered how Mooloo used to come to town and do the same, concede penalties and still win the game.
At last, from broken play, Atiga stepped through a tired defence and the Shield was ours.
What a sweet moment.
Put it in the cupboard for next season, when all our All Blacks are back on deck. Great effort by Canterbury and Mehrtens, but someone had to lose. See you all at the Garden of Eden in 2004.
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