Mitre 10 Cup: Canterbury hand Auckland first loss of season

Dallas McLeod.
Dallas McLeod. Photo credit: Image: Photosport

Canterbury have claimed their second win of the Mitre 10 Cup season with a 32-22 win over Auckland at Eden Park. 

The win hands Auckland their first loss of the year, falling to the nine-time champions at home. 

The visitors started the better of the two, taking an early 10-0 lead after Billy Harmon plucked out a Harry Plummer pass to score under the posts. 

Harmon was sent off five minutes later, giving Auckland a way back into the match.

They took it, with Akira Ioane scoring against the post to make it 7-10. Dallas McLeod scored his first try of the game just before half time to take the lead to 10 points at the break. 

Harmon had a double after 50 minutes. Scrappy play saw the flanker kick the ball before anybody could pick it up, and he was the first to pounce - scoring Canterbury's third of the match.

But Auckland mounted a comeback, scoring two tries in two minutes. Blake Gibson scored and then Salesi Rayasi showed his class down the left wing to take the current Premiership Champions to within three - the score 25-22.

The visitors stayed composed for the final 15 minutes, scoring through replacement halfback Ere Enari after a big chunk of possession. 

Auckland pushed for another comeback, but were unable to break a staunch Canterbury defence and fell to their first loss of the season.

Canterbury travel to Whangarei to take on Northland on Thursday, and Auckland face Counties Manukau on Saturday.