Mitre 10 Cup: Canterbury regain Ranfurly Shield with frantic win over Otago

Canterbury have regained the Ranfurly Shield following a 35-25 win over Otago in Dunedin on Saturday night. 

The red and blacks lifted the Log o' Wood for the 16th time - which equals Auckland for the record of most wins.

Canterbury now must defend the shield next Sunday against North Harbour, if they want to lock it away for the summer. 

The win also secures Canterbury a Premiership semi-final spot with a game to spare.

Otago started well but failed to put points on before the challengers scored 13 points in a flash through the boot of Brett Cameron and a try to for speedster Josh McKay. 

Two Josh Ioane penalties had Otago within seven points at the break, but the writing was well and truly on the wall, with Canterbury bombing several try-scoring opportunities. 

And two minutes into the second frame that pressure finally told when Mitchell Drummond scored off the back of clever play from Luke Romano and Sam Gilbert, freeing up the No.9 to dot down under the posts.

The sides swapped tries before Jona Nareki's try with six minutes remaining had the holders within seven points of retaining the shield.

But the red and blacks held on with Cameron slotting a late penalty to confirm the win.

Canterbury 35 (Josh McKay, Mitchell Drummond, Sam Gilbert, Tim Bateman tries; Brett Cameron 3 conversions, 3 penalties) Otago 25 (Sio Tomkinson, Adam Thomson, Jona Nareki tries; Josh Ioane 2 conversions, 2 penalties)

Steamers roll Manawatu

Bay of Plenty have secured a home semi-final of the Mitre 10 Cup championship division with a comprehensive 46-10 victory over Manawatu.

Sevens star Joe Ravouvou continued his hot run of form, bagging a hat-trick in the bonus-point win over the Turbos.

The victory leaves the Steamers two points behind Hawke's Bay with one round to play, but can't be caught for second.

Ravouvou opened the scoring for The Bay in the ninth minute, giving the home side the perfect start to lead 5-3 early on.

They added another before half time through Kurt Eklund but it was the second half where the class of the Steamers shone through, Emoni Narawa, Richard Judd and Jason Robertson crossed the chalk in the second 40 as well as Ravouvou scoring his second and third to claim the win.

Bay of Plenty 46 (Joe Ravouvou 3, Kurt Eklund, Emoni Narawa, Richard Judd, Jason Robertson tries; Kaleb Trask con, pen, Jason Robertson 3 con) Manawatū 10 (Jamie Booth try; Otere Black con, Andre Taylor pen)

Auckland stay in the title hunt

Auckland have kept their premiership playoff hopes alive with a comprehensive 64-7 trashing of Southland. 

Auckland dominated from the outset, No. 8 Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa took the ball and sprinted through the Stags' defence to score under the posts.

The 2018 Champions never looked back, winger Caleb Clarke scored after a nice offload from TJ Faiane.

The blue and whites kept attacking Southland's end of Eden Park, taking the lead to 19-0 after 18 minutes when right winger Salesi Rayasi showed his strength, bursting through two tackles to score the third of the match.

Their first half domination continued four minutes later, Faiane powering through from close range to take the score to 24-0 at the break.

The home side flew out of the sheds in the second half, halfback Jonathan Ruru took a quick tap, catching Southland napping to score.

Dalton Papali'i and Danny Tusitala scored a late double each as the score ballooned out throughout the final minutes.

Southland managed a 68th minute try through hooker Greg Pleasants-Tate but there was little reprieve for the Stags who fell to their eighth loss of the year.

Auckland needs some help to have a chance of defending their 2018 title. They will need to beat Taranaki in New Plymouth and hope Canterbury repel a surging North Harbour in Albany. 

Auckland 64 (Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa, Caleb Clarke 2, Salesi Rayasi, TJ Faiane, Jonathan Ruru, Dalton Papali'i 2, Danny Tusitala 2 tries; Harry Plummer 7 con) Southland 7 (Greg Pleasants-Tate try; Marty McKenzie con).

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