Wellington see off feisty North Harbour
Sat, 29 Sep 2012 9:45p.m.
Wellington scored five tries in beating hapless North Harbour 34-28 to return to the top of the national provincial championship rugby standings.
Securing a bonus point was enough to send hosts Wellington one point clear of Auckland and Taranaki in the Premiership division standings although Taranaki have played one less match.
Wellington were made to work harder than expected by a North Harbour side who are winless through eight matches and remain last in the second-tier Championship division despite picking up two bonus points on Saturday.
Two Wellington tries stood out, including a brilliant solo effort by teenage flanker Ardie Savea to put his side 10-0 up. Age group star Savea received an offload on the halfway line and left three visiting defenders grasping in a sizzling run.
The other was an exceptional team try midway through the second spell which swept the length of the field and featured numerous offloads and broken tackles before reserve back Shaun Treeby crossed.
Lock Ross Filipo and first five-eighth Lima Sopoaga scored Wellington's other first-half tries to put Wellington 20-14 up at the break while reserve lock Kaipati Gaualofa opened their second-half tally.
Wellington played in fits and starts, underlining their title challenge credentials with some sparkling attack but also allowing the visitors far too much leeway for long periods.
North Harbour nearly stole a late win as they crossed for tries in the final quarter to reserve hooker Manu Leiataua and winger Nafi Tuitavake.
Their tryscorers in the first half were first five-eighth Codey Rei and No.8 Jim Tuivaiti.
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