Rieko Ioane celebrates his try at Eden Park
The Mitre 10 Cup marched on today with wins to Tasman and Auckland, with the competition providing a reminder to Steve Hansen about just what he’s missing out on right now in the All Blacks.
Tasman blindside Liam Squire underlined just why Hansen is desperate to receive a phone call from him announcing his availability for test rugby again, with a dominant display for the competition’s top team. He scored the opening try in the 64-3 drubbing in Blenheim, then helped set up the next two to Hugh Roach and Jordan Taufua. Winger Jamie Spowart bagged a hat-trick as the Mako ran riot over the hapless Turbos.
The result showed just how stacked the Tasman side is this year – as well as Squire and Taufua, they also have All Black Shannon Frizell in their loose forward mix. Manawatū’s only points came courtesy of a solitary penalty goal to Otere Black.
Meanwhile, at Eden Park, Auckland were made to work hard to get a home win over a fired-up Bay Of Plenty. However, the Steamers were their own worst enemies, throwing a shocking intercept pass for Rieko Ioane to run half the length of the field untouched to score in the first half. Chase Tiatia then found himself in the sin bin after halftime for taking out Caleb Clarke in the air.
While they kept the Aucklanders scoreless in the second half, the Steamers could only answer with a try to Mitch Karpik. Although they came close in the dying stages, Auckland were able to tackle their way to victory.
At Lansdowne Park, Blenheim:
Tasman Mako 64 (Jamie Spowart 3, Liam Squire, Hugh Roach, Jordan Taufua, Finlay Christie, Jacob Norris, Will Jordan, Ethan Blackadder tries, Mitchell Hunt 4 con, Tim O'Malley 3 con) Manawatū Turbos 3 (Otere Black pen)
HT: 33-3 Tasman
At Eden Park, Auckland:
Auckland 19 (Salesi Rayasi 2, Rieko Ioane tries; D'Angelo Leuila 2 con)
Bay of Plenty 13 (Mitchell Karpik try; Dan Hollinshead con, 2 pen)
HT: 19-7 Auckland