Canterbury cruise past North Harbour to retain Ranfurly Shield

Canterbury produced a stunning second-half display against North Harbour to retain the Ranfurly Shield and maintain their position at the top of the Mitre 10 Premiership table.

The league leaders ran in four tries after the break on Friday to complete a 47-18 triumph, giving them an eighth win in nine matches this season.

North Harbour belied their Championship status in the opening half of the cross-divisional encounter, going in level 15-15 at the break.

However, they could not hold Canterbury back after the restart as the hosts cruised to a bonus-point victory.

Tom Sanders and George Bridge exchanged tries with Matt Vaega and Sione Mafileo in a close opening, while Jordie Barrett and Bryn Gatland both kicked five points apiece to leave the sides evenly matched at half time.

A second penalty from Gatland briefly gave North Harbour a three-point advantage, but that was the end of their scoring as Canterbury's superior fitness and strength showed.

The boot of Barrett restored parity before putting the hosts ahead, and then a flurry of tries saw Canterbury pull clear.

Jack Goodhue, Richie Mo'unga, Nathan Vella and Jack Stratton all touched down to complete what turned out to be a comprehensive win, securing the Ranfurly Shield once again for Canterbury.

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