Waikato versus Northland - Ranfurly Shield Rugby
Waikato destroyed Northland dreams of shield glory today with an impressive 52-14 thrashing at Rugby Park, Hamilton.
The Cambridge Blues travelled south in form and with captain Glen Taylor leading from the front and Norm Berryman inspiring the backs confidence was high and returning north with the "log of wood' wasn't beyond belief.
However somebody forgot to tell the Mooloo mob the script and like the gang they have been likened to they attacked with venom, defended with heart and overwhelmingly overpowered the challengers.
Despite some hard work by Northland - including tries to Berryman and Fijian sevens star Fero Lasagavibau - they were at times outclassed and the seven tries they conceded were a fair reflection of the Waikato dominance.
Outstanding for the shieldholders was the hard-running Keith Lowen and captain Dion Muir while former All Black Royce Willis had a strong game in the tight and highlighted an impressive 80 minutes with some fine lineout work.
Out wide Roger Randle used pacy finishing to score a brace while Lowen, Scott MacLeod, Glen Jackson, Guy Coleman and Cresten Davis added the other Waikato tries. Jackson added the additional points to add to fine game from pivot.
Dejected Northland captain Glen Taylor said he was obviously disappointed but acknowledged a truly superior performance. "They are a polished side and they put us away. We came to lif the log but they beat us allover the park".
For the victors the in-form Lowen described a seemingly simple winning formula: " We've got pace with Randle and Reihana (Bruce) so we spun it wide to get it to them as soon as possible".
former All Black second rower, Willis added "we needed to
front and we did".