27 Sep 2015

Taranaki post historic win over Canterbury

6:34 pm on 27 September 2015

Provincial rugby champions Taranaki have all but sealed the final playoffs place in the top-tier Premiership, with a 24-21 away win over Canterbury.

It's Canterbury's first defeat of the season and is also the first time in 52 years that Taranaki have won in Christchurch.

Canterbury's Ryan Crotty fends off Berny Hall of Taranaki during the ITM Cup rugby match, Canterbury v Taranaki, at AMI Stadium, Christchurch, on the 27th September 2015. Copyright Photo: John Davidson / www.photosport.nz

Canterbury's Ryan Crotty fends off Berny Hall of Taranaki Photo: Photosport

The Bulls can now only be caught for the last place in the finals if they earn no more points in their two remaining games, and Counties Manukau score maximum points in theirs. But the Steelers will still have to overcome a huge points differential from Taranaki.

Openside flanker Berny Hall opened the scoring for the visitors at AMI Stadium, before right wing Johnny McNicholl replied for the hosts.

Taranaki led 17-13 at half-time.

Bulls lock Blade Thomson scored a try after half-time then Canterbury left wing Marshall Suckling crossed to close the gap to 24-21.

Wellington lock Jeremy Thrush makes a break to score a try during the ITM Cup rugby match - Waikato v Wellington at Waikato Stadium, Hamilton on Sunday 27 September 2015

Wellington lock Jeremy Thrush makes a break to score a try against Waikato Photo: Photosport

Earlier, Wellington beat Waikato 21-14 in their crossover ITM Cup clash in Hamilton.

Wellington's win keeps them in touch with Championship leaders Hawke's Bay, the Lions now four points behind the Magpies with three games to go before the playoffs.

Waikato are now two points above relegation-threatened Manawatu and seven behind champions Taranaki, who at present hold the last remaining semi-final place.

But Waikato only have two games remaining and Taranaki have three left, so any hopes the Mooloos have of playoffs football will depend on the champions slipping up.

Wellington led 16-6 at half-time at Waikato Stadium, thanks to a try to Jeremy Thrush.

Both teams scored second-half tries, the Lions through hooker Leni Apasi and the hosts through replacement centre Chauncy Edwardson.