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Cantabs struggle to contain the Taniwha's
Cantabs struggle to contain the Taniwha's
(..but keep the Shield for the summer!)
As soon as the final whistle went at Rugby Park Hamilton, and Canterbury had lifted the log-o-wood, their last 2 NPC games took on a different tone. Why? Because they where home games, and hence became shield challenges. From being in a comfortable situation where even a loss would still have meant a home semi, both games became must-win games. Obviously the titanic struggle against Otago was gonna be the focus, and so it was. The game against Northland had all the makings of a side just wanting to end the season as quickly as possible & get to semi-final time! Canterbury where always in a no-win situation in this game. Expected by the fans & media too win and too win relatively easily.

They didn't end up winning easily. It was a struggle. The Cantabs weren't fully focused on the job, took dumb options at times, and basically let Northland disrupt the way Canty WANT to play.

There's no point being too negative about the win though for the reasons mentioned above. They won & kept the shield for the summer and really thats all that matters. Two trophies down, One to go!

Two eagerly awaited clashes in this game where the Todd Blackadder/Glenn Taylor and Scott Robertson/Justin Collins tussles. Toddy skipped this game with a neck injury (back for the semi's though) and hence Taylor ended up having a stormer! He wouldn't be a bad touring party option really would he? The Robertson-Collins clash ended up a bit of a disappointment. Neither player really shone, with Scotty having a quiet night and Collins not doing anything seemingly remarkable that would make you go "WOW, he should be an All Black!". I think Collins might make the AB touring party though, but he did nothing outstanding in this game. And really that sums up the whole game!

At times the underrated Northland scrum had Canterbury in trouble. Makes me think what sort of influence Toddy has in the engine room at scrum time!!?? Canterbury didn't seem as strong! Of course the Auckland Blues selectors should have been taking a close look at the Northland front rows performance...but I doubt it! : - )

Someone who is now a firm crowd favourite and whom will probably be keeping a current AB on the Canterbury bench is Ben Blair. His pace, acceleration especially, and stepping is astonishing. The fact he has a Mehrtens like ability with the boot just makes him an even more special player.

I honestly can't think of anything more to say about this game!

As a Cantab I'm just glad its over!



Let us know what you think!

Yep, like DH says, two down one to go! It's unclear at this stage who we will play next week (currently it's Northland, but Harbour or the Naki could sneak in yet) but I am really disappointed that Auckland get to play a rampant Wellington outfit... 8)
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