Northland kicks to narrow win
Sun, 16 Sep 2012 8:43p.m.
A solid defensive effort and the accuracy of first five-eighth Ash Moeke edged Northland to a 20-17 win in their national provincial rugby match over Tasman in Blenheim on Sunday.
The win is Northland's third from five starts, and consolidates third place on the championship ladder, two points behind second-placed Tasman.
Tasman always looked dangerous on the counterattack, but although they played at pace in the first half, a high error rate let them down and they couldn't add to Hayden Cripps' 15th minute penalty before halftime.
Northland hit the front as the break approached, building pressure through quick recycling before second five-eighth Derek Cooper sliced through to give the visitors a 10-3 lead at halftime.
Tasman upped the intensity in the second stanza, Cripps sinking two more penalties as the home team worked hard to retain possession and put the Northland line under pressure.
Northland's discipline cracked, and while flanker Jack Ram was in the sinbin for persistent infringing at the ruck, lock and former Samoan international Filipo Levy crashed across to give Tasman a 14-10 lead as the hour ticked over.
Another penalty extended the lead to seven before a brilliant individual try to Northland winger Mateo Malupo was converted by Moeke to level the scores.
Moeke then coolly slotted a 79th-minute penalty to secure the win.
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