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The Air NZ Cup NPC Week Three

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Contributor:
Scott Newman
Scott Newman

The All Blacks had considerable input into the score lines for week 3 of the NPC. In a lot of people’s opinion it was needed to have the All Blacks run out in the break between international games. The All Blacks play the wallabies in the latest Tri Nations/Bledisloe Cup saga with all the confidence we can install in our national game required. Last weekend showed that any team can win the Air NZ Cup this season.
 
Otago vs. North Harbour – Otago won 29 - 9
 
The Blue & Gold were in good control against a Harbour team that is looking better than past seasons but not scoring any tries! (One try from three games) Otago needed to get the season in order as they have been battling close with teams without finishing. Well, all opportunities were taken. Luke McAlister was put in check and played a good territory game, failed to execute a certain try missed kicks but we will see him in Black on Saturday. Otago played a good game whose defense did not let them down. They will need to play better to compete with the other Super unions however.
 
Player of the game – Adam Thomson (Otago) a ball-terrier he really is the A class of flankers.
 
Southland vs. Manawatu – Manawatu won 25 – 23
 
The Turbos could be the feel good story of the NPC. They are playing very good Attacking Rugby. Sure, their defense is very undesirable at times. But more points on the scoreboard will always solve that problem. Southland has been playing very good rugby each week even looking like one of the more solid teams of the competition. Playing with exciting energy throughout patches of each game. Jimmy Cowan played the whole game and kept the Stags going forward.
 
Player of the game – Andre Taylor (Manawatu) scored a brace of tries to guide a good win at Rugby Park.
 
Canterbury vs. Waikato – Canterbury won 46 - 13
 
Dan Carter took this game away from the Mooloo men. He had an outstanding performance amongst the tight Canterbury outfit. Watching Wyatt Crockett score a try as if he was a centre on the charge was a highlight. Waikato struggled to get any momentum in the game as at times it looked like they were playing against themselves. The Ball that Waikato got was not used to effectiveness as Carter/Slade/Brett drove them back all game. The Red & Black showed that at their house you must bring a flawless game to succeed.
 
Player of the game - Dan Carter (Canterbury) good practice games ... now please get the Kiwi backline into top gear!
 
Northland vs. Auckland – Auckland won 32 - 13
 
The Historic match at Kerikeri, Northland drew a big crowd. Auckland had come to play as they had not won a game and have looked very vulnerable in playing the ball. An injection of Kaino, Rokocoko, Afoa & Toeava is just what the doctor ordered huh? The lift in go forward brushed on to the tight 5 and back line inspiring the A team to go out wide and with results. Northland showed a good fight and did cross the Auckland line. They gave the All Blacks a good workout by counter attacking wherever possible. A good game on a rainy day.
 
Player of the game – Joe Rokocoko (Auckland) It was a lot easier running through Northlands line & now please find a gap through the gold & green!
 
Taranaki vs. Hawke’s Bay – Draw 24 - 24
 
Jason Eaton had his turn to show the reason why he is on the All Black reserve side. Hawke’s Bay will be a handful for every team this season home or away. Rugby is all about moments and taking chances when they are given. A draw can be hard to swallow after 80mins. The Waldrom brothers Scott & Thomas sported pink headgear for charity which was a nice touch to the match. It is always good to see a game of attacking rugby and both of these sides have good moments and earn points effectively. Hawke’s Bay should have had this game wrapped up but the ‘naki stole it from them in the end for a stalemate.
 
Player of the game – Jack Cameron (Taranaki) to save the game from being a lost cause.
 
Bay of Plenty vs. Wellington – Bay of Plenty won 21 - 17
 
The Steamers are playing good rugby. A structured game & playing to all of their strengths. Mike Delany is the main man responsible for guiding them to the top of the table. Sometimes the best rugby is a no frills game of territory, win the ball and use it effectively in chances given. Wellington had their fair chances during the game. Rodney So’oialo brought ball security back into the Lions game and did more than his fair share in guiding the lions forward back once he came off the bench. Daniel Kirkpatrick looked shaky again. A lot had been spoken of Coach Joseph’s omission of All Blacks Jane, Weepu & Tialata but I don’t think this beared on the outcome. The Bay has come to play rugby.
 
Player of the game – Corey Aporo (Bay of Plenty) will remember his two good tries against the Lions.
 
Tasman vs. Counties Manukau – Tasman won 51 - 15
 
First game between these two unions. I bet Counties wants to play this one again as it was a game that had almost nothing go right for them. Tasman played a constructive game with good control. They have shown this each week so far and they got very good results due to a very shady Steelers defense. Counties would do better if they just attacked with ball in hand whilst in the opposition half and remembered to tackle again on transition coming back. (Just some armchair critic advice.) Get those tackles up and play your natural game. Tasman is showing that basic rugby wins.
 
Player of the game – James Kamana (Tasman) I could have picked through almost all 15 in this one?
 
This Week:
 
Manawatu vs. Otago
Southland vs. Hawke's Bay
North Harbour vs. Northland
Bay of Plenty vs. Waikato
Canterbury vs. Tasman
Wellington vs. Auckland (Ranfurly Shield)
ALL BLACKS vs. WALLABIES
Counties Manukau vs. Taranaki

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