Canterbury vs. Auckland
Saturday 2 October 2004
HT Score 9 - 10
FT Score 28 - 20
Last week against Waikato, Canterbury endured a tight, eagerly contested first half. The intensity reminded some at Cone Stadium of a Ranfurly shield clash!
This week’s first half against the mighty Orks was only “tight” on the score board! If it had been played at Jade there would have been mutterings about dew on the ground!
While the list of Orks doing silly things is too long to go into here, Jamie "Brown-n*ts" was more than holding his own (that's got to hurt) - err... in a "where's a sniper when you need them?" performance.
While the first half wasn't a shocker, it wasn't great to watch, and it left us feeling like we needed something else...
That something else turned out to be the Canterbury team holding onto the ball and the back-line catching fire!
Ok, maybe catching fire is a bit strong, but there are definitely a few scorched Auckland reputations after the defensive holes that Dan (the man) Carter, and Casey (nah nah na-na-nah!) Laulala found.
And so what if we didn't find the forth try to earn 5 points - we wouldn't like to get a reputation for being greedy ;-)
Despite the potential you never really got the idea that this game was going to take off. If anything the first half punch-up probably took most of the fizz out.
The sight of a righteous man (Chris Jack) pummelling an infringing pretty boy (that would be Carlos Spencer) whist being something that has no place in the game of rugby... was fun to watch.
Watching them walk off to the sin-bin together with Jack smiling and Spencer grinding his teeth, was almost as interesting as the shock of Steve Walsh announcing he had made a mistake and awarding the penalty to Canterbury.
It was all quite silly, and proof that sport is indeed life in caricature!
Neither pivot set the world on fire, which apart from some poor handling may well be why the game was so closely fought.
Carlos Spencer did display all of his tricks, the good the bad and the ugly! He may still think that he had the last (somewhat hollow) laugh on Mehrts with his try. However I remember a few fairly hopeless up-and-unders that would have to feature in the tally.
The Ork's use of the high searching kicks was a good early ploy - if even one of them had resulted in a try it might have won the mental dominance.
But when it didn't work and 'Los kept kicking - the initiative (and the ball) was handed back to Canterbury.
Mehrts let his centres do the running which was ultimately the winning of the game. His only real weakness was his normally devastating defence and the two missed drop-goals, although he only looked disappointed with the second 3 point attempt.
Steve Walsh didn't really help things much. While he noticed a lot of the skulduggery, there were a few more things that were begging to be pinged. One has to complement him not going upstairs with McCaw’s almost try, that was the middle of a very positive start to the second half for both teams.
Advantage is great, but not much fun when it doesn't favour you team. Alright for me though as I could look at the score-board and be happy.
Late in the second half the Sky Commentary guys finally worked out that Auckland really needed a bonus point win. The team were still taking penalties - I guess that you have to win the thing first, what good would 2 points have been?
Well no need to worry about that, Auckland ended up with zero points!
This result may only keep Canterbury in the hunt for a semi-final - but you can't beat those bragging rights!