Canterbury survive Taranaki rally, Northland break drought

Premiership leaders Canterbury defeated Taranaki 39-34 away from home in the Mitre 10 Cup on Sunday, as Northland finally ended their winless run.

Taranaki took a narrow 18-17 lead into the break at Yarrow Stadium, thanks to tries from Rhys Marshall and Iopu Iopu-Aso, together with eight points off the boot of Marty McKenzie, who made the opening try.

Luke Whitelock and Jack Stratton went over for the visitors, Jordie Barrett converting both to go with an earlier penalty.

Barrett crossed before converting his own try as Canterbury made a strong start to the second half, Whitelock bagging a second and Richie Mo'unga also touching down, as Barrett kicked five more points. 

McKenzie's missed tackle on Jed Brown had allowed Stratton to score and, while he supplied two penalties to help Taranaki stay in touch, he was also guilty of failing to halt the charge of Mo'unga.

Tries in the last eight minutes from Stephen Perofeta and Toa Halafihi went unconverted to let the away team off the hook. 

Canterbury are eight points clear of second-placed Auckland and Taranaki in third at the top of the Premiership Division standings.

In the other match on Sunday, there were tries from Jordan Hyland, Phil Kite, Matt Matich, Jone Macilai-Tori and Dan Hawkins as Northland defeated Waikato 48-27, ending a 19-game losing streak in the competition.

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