Canterbury steamroll Hawke's Bay
Wed, 10 Oct 2012 11:49p.m.
Canterbury continued their steamroller form with a 44-3 dismantling of Hawke's Bay on Thursday to return to the top of the national provincial championship standings.
Having surpassed 50 points in their three previous games, Canterbury couldn't reach that mark against a game home side, who dominated much of the first half but lacked the class of the four-time defending champions who scored three tries in each half.
That moves Canterbury level with Wellington on 34 points but the southerners top the standings with one round of matches to play as they won the clash between the two teams last month.
Since then Canterbury have lost a Ranfurly Shield against Taranaki before embarking on a dominant four-match winning streak which an injury-struck and undisciplined Hawke's Bay were powerless to halt in Napier.
The winners commanded the set pieces and boasted more fluency out wide although only one of their tries was scored by a back - to winger Johnny McNicholl on the stroke of halftime, increasing his lead as the competition's leading tryscorer on nine.
Before that flanker George Whitelock pounced on an overthrown Hawke's Bay lineout and hooker Codie Taylor crossed out wide for tries after Hawke's Bay had impressed with their early aggression.
All three Canterbury loose forwards crossed for second-half tries - in order Nasi Manu, Luke Whitelock and Matt Todd - with the last two coming in the final five minutes.
Hawke's Bay's lone points came from a fourth-minute penalty to second five-eighth Andrew Horrell.
They remain last in the Premiership division and must now beat Waikato in a Ranfurly Shield challenge on Saturday to have any chance of avoiding relegation to the second-tier Championship division.
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