Auckland up and running, Black denies Southland


Steven Luatua scored two tries as Auckland responded to their opening weekend mauling at Canterbury by claiming a 37-15 bonus-point Mitre 10 Cup win over Northland at Eden Park on Friday.

Nick White's side were hammered 43-3 by Canterbury last Saturday in a repeat of the 2015 final, but responded by securing a first victory of the campaign.

Pryor Collier scored his first try for the club and Kurt Eklund also a touched down as Auckland took a 15-8 lead at half-time, with Simon Hickey slotting over a penalty and a conversion in a contest played in testing conditions due to the wind and rain.

Luatua barged his way over when Northland were unable to stop a rolling maul and the powerful forward also dotted down off the back of a scrum before Vincent Aso got in on the act with a late try.

Hickey added another seven points with the boot, with Championship side Northland only able to score a try in each half as they suffered a second defeat of the season.

Otere Black's last-gasp penalty snatched a 34-31 victory for Manawatu over Southland after the Stags had fought back from 24-0 at half-time.