October 13 2012

North Harbour win big

North Harbour were having a disappointing season in 2012. After nine matches they were still to record a win, and only three of the losses had been by less than seven points. So hopes could hardly have been high for their final match, in Nelson against a relatively high flying Tasman.

 Beating Crusader’s stable mate Canterbury had got the Tasman season off to a great start, and they had beaten another premiership side in Bay of Plenty as well as getting within a point of Waikato. Their challenge for the Ranfurly Shield against Taranaki was unsuccessful, but in losing 40 – 49 Tasman recorded one of the highest losing scores in the Shield’s history. With five wins from nine matches, plus four bonus points, Tasman needed a win against North Harbour to secure a home semi-final in the Championship.

But rugby is a funny game and in one of the upsets of the season North Harbour came away with a 42 – 10 win, too decisive for there to be any element of luck. The North Harbour section of the Rugby Almanack referred to it as “a glorious 42-10 victory in Nelson. Wouldn’t that be marvellous if it was a new dawn?………………… Yet that last game against semi-finalist Tasman was reminiscent of the best of Harbour Rugby.”

 The loss cost Tasman a home semi-final and meant they had to travel to Dunedin for the semi, where they were beaten 34 – 41 by Otago.

North Harbour 42. Tuitavake, Paulo, Hall, Raikuna, Fihaki tries. Rei 4 conversions, 3 penalty goals.

Tasman 10. Cripps try. Marshall conversion and penalty goal.

Referee: M I Fraser.