More late heartbreak for Counties Manukau


For the second week in succession, there was late misery for Counties Manukau in the Mitre 10 Cup as they suffered a 30-29 defeat to Taranaki in Pukehoke.

Counties Manukau suffered an agonising defeat in their previous fixture when Wellington's Jackson Garden-Bachop kicked a penalty in time added on.

On Wednesday, Joe Reynolds had the chance to inflict similar pain on Taranaki, but the replacement fly-half - pressed into action in the first half when Piers Francis suffered a head injury - missed a straightforward penalty attempt to let the visitors off the hook.

Taranaki, for whom Marty McKenzie kicked 15 points, had looked set to triumph comfortably when they reached the interval leading by 20 points to seven, thanks largely to tries from Sean Wainui and Stephen Perofeta.

However, Jordan Taufua and Sherwin Stowers then crossed in quick succession and Counties Manukau were ahead for the first time when Richard Judd went over following fine work from Jimmy Tupou.

A thrilling finale saw Taranaki reclaim the lead through a converted score from Mitchell Crosswell, before Reynolds and McKenzie exchanged penalties.

McKenzie's sixth successful kick looked set to count for nothing when Reynolds was given another chance to split the posts from 30 metres out, yet he could not deliver.