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Bulls' Title Defence Safely under Way

Bulls' Title Defence Safely under Way

Rockcote Canterbury Bulls have begun their new NZRL Premiership season the way they ended the last, with a victory over Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions.

But their 2015 campaign opener proved a far tougher test for the South Island representatives in Tauranga, as the Stallions had the better of their visitors over the second half.

The two rivals were surprise contenders in last year’s premiership final, after Counties Manukau and Akarana were both relegated from the top of the table for fielding ineligible players. Canterbury duly prevailed 40-8 over the under-prepared Stallions.

Today, a hat-trick of tries to centre Erwin Sauni quickly put the Bulls in the driving seat over the opening stanza, with James Baxendale honed in on the posts for four goals.

Ahead 24-10 at the break, they were only able to add another try to second rower Nathan Saumalu over the closing 40 minutes, as their opponents galloped home the stronger.

Fullback Malcom Noda added his second try of the game and Josh Tupou also crossed for Wai-Coa-Bay, but Canterbury survived to begin their title defence in the best possible way.

Further north, Counties Manukau Stingrays bounced back from their shock loss to WCB in the opening round and pounded Northern Swords 77-6 in Kaikohe.

Winger Johnny Henry also had a hat-trick of tries, while Rory Marshall Barton, Arthur Crichton and Uila Aiolupo recorded doubles in a contest that proved one-way traffic.

The Stingrays were 41-0 clear at half-time, but their hosts were able to avoid the whitewash, with Te Tuhi Tipene crossing for a try.

Tomorrow, Central Vipers will host Wellington Orcas at Wanganui’s Springvale Park, with both sides hoping to build in their encouraging results from Round One.

NZRL National Premiership
Saturday, September 5

Tauranga Doman
Canterbury 28 (Erwin Sauni 3, James Baxendale & Nathan Saumalu tries; Baxnedale 4 goals) Wai-Coa-Bay 20 (Malcom Noda 2, Josh Tupou & Jerem Siulepa tries; Hayden Karena 2 goals)

Lindvart Park, Kaikohe
Counties Manukau Stingrays (Johnny Henry 3, Rory Marshall Barton 2, Arthur Crichton 2, Uila Aiolupo 2, Jacob Aki, Faaee Afoa, Kruz Tupou & Graham Vite tries; Mikaere Beattie 12 goals; Vite dropped goal) Northern Swords 6 (Te Tuhi Tipene try; Daniel Fulop goal)

ENDS

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