This weeks only televised match took place between the North Harbour Hibiscus and the Auckland Storm in the Battle of the Bridge at QBE Stadium on the North Shore.
Veteran No 2 Fiao’o Fa’amausili run out in her blue and white jersey for her 100th game for the Storm and was greeted with cheers and woops from the crowd.
The game got underway and for the first five minutes it was all North Harbour as they dominated up front at ruck time and moved the ball out wide in the backs. The Hibiscus were playing a great expansive game which really suited them. Unfortunately the Storm were waiting patiently to pounce on any mistake the Hibiscus made and got the first try of the game through No 5 Charlene Gubb from a pick and go from the bottom of a ruck practical on the try line. The try went unconverted by half back Emma Jensen, but that was only the first of many tries for the Storm. With the Storms second try coming just a few minutes later through speedy first five Ruahei Demant standing at second receiver, the Aucklanders went up 12-0 with the try converted by Emma Jensen after just 20 minutes. North Harbour came close a few times in the first half to score a try but their ball handling skills let them down. The Storms next two tries came from No 6 Joanna Fanene, from a great play off the back of a ruck, and speedy No 14 Male Hufanga from a stolen line out and quick thinking down the right hand touch line. The Storm went into the break 22-0 with only one of their tries being converted.
Back in from the break and North Harbour scored their one and only try to speedy No 6 Pia Tapsell from an intercept that would make Beauden Barrett proud. The Storm telegraphed their move and Tapsell saw it coming from a mile away a took advantage of it to scoot the 22 metres to the try line. Then it was all the Auckland Storm after that. With three more tries, one each to Aliesha-Pearl Nelson, Leanne Thompson and Fiao’o Fa’amausili (celebrating her 100th game), the Storm put in a commanding performance to see of the Hibiscus 37-5.
North Harbour can walk away from this game with a lot of positives from their play, they may need to work on their scrum but other than that, it was an actually all round good performance from them. The Hibiscus had opportunities to get some tries in the second half but again poor handling let them down.
This was both teams third encounter in any form of provincial competition and Auckland have walked away with three wins from three now.
Auckland now travel south to the Manawatu when the Storm front moves into Cyclone territory (pun intended!). While the North Harbour Hibiscus take on the Tasman Makos at Trafalgar Park in sunny Nelson.