Saturday, September 30, 2017
Bay of Plenty Steamers went down 38-19 to Auckland at Eden Park this afternoon.
There was a lot riding on clash with the Steamers after a top four spot, the John Drake Boot up for grabs and a first win over Auckland since 2004 at the home of New Zealand rugby.
But the Steamers couldn't find their rhythm against a determined home side, desperate to maintain their spot in the Premiership division.
Jono Hickey kicked Auckland out to an early 3-0 lead.
Despite making some good forward momentum through loosie Tom Franklin and tighthead Jeff Thwaites simple handling errors were costly resulting in Auckland winger Joe Ravouvou crossing the line.
Down 10-0 after just six minutes, it soon became 17-0 four minutes later when Ravouvou slipped past two more ineffective tackles to score another try.
The Steamers then lifted dominating the next 15 minutes. Pulling multiple phases together in Auckland's 22 and having the advantage of a man in the bin after referee Cam Stone showed a yellow card to Auckland tighthead Marcel Renata for collapsing a maul.
However Auckland's defence held pressuring the Steamers attacking systems. It was Steamers halfback Richard Judd whom finally made it across the try line, but his try was to be disallowed following TMO review.
Instead Auckland added two more penalties to lead 23-0 at halftime. Despite having had 78 percent of the territory the Bay of Plenty Steamers were held scoreless at the break.
The opening play of the second half saw another unforced error with Bay turning over the ball - Auckland go on attack, try to Vince Aso.
Melani Nanai nabbed another for Auckland and with the game lost the Steamers looked for the bonus point. Henry Stowers, Tom Franklin and Jesse Parete scored late consolation tries but they missed the crucial fourth try in the last play of the game by again dropping the ball.
The Bay of Plenty Steamers will head south next week to take on Otago on Saturday 7 October at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Auckland 38 (Joe Ravouvou 2, Vince Aso, Melani Nanai tries; Jono Hickey 3 con, 4 pen) Bay of Plenty 19 (Henry Stowers, Tom Franklin, Jesse Parete tries; Luke Campbell 2 cons) Halftime 23-0