The Turbos have not held the Ranfurly Shield since 1978 and were left to rue a yellow card which cost them 19 points late in the first half.
With little to separate the teams at the 30 minute mark, Manawatu prop Michael Ala’latoa was yellow carded for a deliberate foul. In the ten minutes Ala’latoa was off the field, Taranaki’s lead went from 8-6 to 27-6 as outstanding backs Seta Tamanivalu and Waisake Naholo completed doubles.
With the air deflated out of Manawatu’s challenge at the halftime break, replacement halfback Jamie Booth did his best to bring the Turbos back into the match with a handy performance from the bench.
After a couple of nice darting runs, Booth crossed the Taranaki line to claw back the lead for the Turbos.
A big part of Taranaki’s success this year is how they have answered back quickly to opposition pressure, and tonight was no exception. Powerful loose forward Pita-Gus Sowakula bust the Manawatu defence wide-open before midfielder Charlie Ngatai ran a great line to make it 34-11 to the home-side.
Manawatu weren’t going to roll over though and got the heart rate of the local fans up with a stunning 10 minute period. Ngani Laumape has impressed with his hard running this year and showed he is more than just a powerhouse with a deft touch to put Ambrose Curtis over.
Jamie Booth was in on the action again as the ball was ripped from his arms close to the line and Jade Te Rure pounced on the scraps to make it 34-25 with 10 minutes to play.
It was beginning to look like Manawatu were on the verge of famous Shield win when Taranaki wing Declan O’Donnell was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle.
But Taranaki showed their class by finishing the stronger with tries to replacements Kylem O’Donnell and Adrian Wyrill to confirm the 46-25 victory. O’Donnell’s try was particularly impressive with a spectacular dive in the corner bringing the crowd to its feet.
Taranaki captain Angus Ta’avao said: “Both teams had a lot to play for. The shield is on the line and both teams were after a home semifinal. To lock the Shield away in front of a big crowd on a Wednesday night is an amazing feeling.”
— Mitre10 Cup (@Mitre10Cup) 11 жовтня 2017 р.