Canterbury put 50 past Waikato
Sun, 23 Sep 2012 4:52p.m.
Canterbury have repelled a Waikato comeback and run out 52-27 winners in a national provincial championship rugby match in Hamilton.
In a rematch of last year's final, Waikato cut what had been a big deficit to just two points early in the second half.
But that was as close as the home side got on Sunday as Canterbury went on to score 23 unanswered points over the balance of the half.
The tally included tries to replacement prop Paea Fa'anunu and centre Robbie Fruean, who got his second of the match with a late intercept.
Meanwhile, Tom Taylor kept the score ticking over with the boot, the fullback ending with 22 points after kicking nine from 11, including a penalty from inside his own half.
The win lifts Canterbury, chasing a fifth straight title, to within a point of third-placed Wellington.
Waikato, who scored three tries of their own, remain level on points with Hawke's Bay at the bottom of the Premiership table.
Canterbury began the match at a sprint, getting their bonus-point fourth try after just 24 minutes.
They showed superb continuity in attack to produce tries for No.8 Nasi Manu, Fruean and winger Johnny McNicholl with barely 12 minutes gone.
Waikato replied with their first touchdown when prop Toby Smith was driven over.
Canterbury struck back through skipper George Whitelock, who scored off a slick turnover from impressive loose forward partner Matt Todd.
Down 29-10, Waikato mounted a spirited fight-back, with prop Ben May scoring from another forward drive.
They closed to 29-24 on half-time after half-back Brendon Leonard dotted down in the corner and fullback Trent Renata landed the sideline conversion.
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