Round Two of the Farah Palmer Cup kick-off on Thursday night with the first televised game of the season with Counties Power Heat hosting Waikato at Ecolight Stadium in Pukekohe. The match was a curtain raiser to a mens Mitre 10 Cup game and I think the men need to take a few pages out of the ladies handbook of how to win rugby and win well. With Counties again dominating up front and in the backs as well, the home team managed to run in seven unanswered tries and keep their Cup dreams alive. Waikato head home knowing they have work to do in the scrum and need to keep their chin up.
The Auckland Storm hosted old rivals Canterbury in the second televised game of the round at the formidable Eden Park in Auckland and were unapologetic in their win against the red and blacks. With Auckland No 9 Emma Jensen celebrating her 100 game at provincial level, the Storm looked to open the game and let the tries flow. With seven tries to two to the home team they gave their nuggety half back cause for celebration. Canterbury looked slightly intimated by the size of the Storm but settled in the second and were able to put some points on the board. They will walk away from this game knowing they can’t let the size of the opposition intimidate them.
Game three saw the Battle of the Bays take place when the Hawkes Bay Tuis hosted the Bay of Plenty Volcanix at Tremain Park in Napier. Both teams came out firing but it was the Volcanix that got the upper hand and won the match 24-10. The Volcanix outscored their opponents 4 tries to 2 and showed why they are the team to beat in the Championship.
The Wellington Pride hosted the Manawatu Cyclones at the Petone Rec Centre in Lower Hutt for the fourth game of the round. With the Pride looking to capitalise on their win from last week the home team were not having a good start to it. The Cyclones first game of the season saw them take the lead 21-5 at the break and almost letting Wellington back in the game with 5 tries to 2 in the second half. Only the boot of Lizzie Goulden, with five conversions, saw them win the game. Wellington will be rueing the missed opportunities to get their tries converted. Both teams picked up a bonus point each (one for getting 4 or more tries).
The last game of the round saw the Otago Spirit host the Tasman Makos at Logan Park 6 in Dunedin. The Spirit were on fire and delivered 12 unanswered tries to win the game 82-0. Tasman will come away from this game slightly let down but also knowing that with just their second outing in the Cup it was not the result they were after, especially after the close lose to Waikato last week. The Spirit on the other hand had a field day with the tries with Tina Moata’ane bagging 5 of them and both Greer Muir and Angie Sisifa picking up two apiece.
With the Cup now in full swing we’ll have to see if the Counties Power Heat will still dominate the Premiership, and the Bay of Plenty Volcanix look to have put their hands up to say they are team to beat with one win and one draw under their belt.
Counties Manukau 48 (Arihiana Marino 2, Timara Leaf, Utumalama Atonio, Katie Matau, Stacey Brown, Aroha Heta tries; Hazel Tubic 5 con, pen)
Auckland 41 (Hasting Leiataua 2, Joanna Fanene, Moana Finelevi-Aso 2, Mele Hufanga, Charlene Gubb tries; Emma Jensen 3 con)
Canterbury 12 (Phillipa Carr, Olivia McGoverne tries; McGoverne con ).
Hawke’s Bay 10 (Yarnisae Whaitiri, Natalie Cotton tries)
Bay of Plenty 24 (Luka Connor 2, Jade Tuilaepa, Aryahn Clarke tries; Shaye Whareaoere 2 con).
Wellington 27 (Jayne Bryce, Vaine Marsteres, Gina Williamson, Saua Ualesi, Troy Svanborg tries; Bryce con)
Manawatu Cyclones 35 (Ruci Malanicagi 2, Selica Winiata, Kristina Sue, Lauren Balsillie tries; Lizzie Goulden 5 con)
Otago 82 (Cheyenne Cunningham, Greer Muir 2,Tina Moata’ane 5, Angie Sisifa 2, Morgan Henderson, Leyhana van Vugt tries; Liv Waldron 9 con, Sheree Hume 2 con)