AUCKLAND VUCLANS TOO STRONG FOR SENZ CANTERBURY BULLS
The SENZ Canterbury Bulls have endured another tough afternoon at their Ngā Puna Wai base at the hands of an NZRL National Premiership heavyweight, going down 56-8 to a classy Auckland Vulcans side on Sunday.
On the back of a 44-0 loss to Counties Manukau Stingrays in Round 1, the Bulls scored a try in each half but struggled to contain the Vulcans’ big, dynamic ball-runners and leaked 11 four-pointers.
The Vulcans capitalised on their first genuine opportunity at the five-minute mark, with strapping Sione Feao crashing through a would-be Bulls defender to post the opening points.
There were real danger signs for the home side soon afterwards as Auckland sliced through some ineffective defence in the middle of the park. Fullback Ollie Tuimavave backed up to finish off a 50-metre movement under the posts for a 10-0 scoreline.
Tuimavave bounced out of a couple of Canterbury tackles to bag his second try in the 12th minute.
After temporarily stemming the flow of points, the Bulls were again exposed by Feao, who broke the line and found ex-Highlanders winger Freedom Vahaakolo in support to finish off the Vulcan’s fourth try.
Canterbury landed on the scoreboard five minutes before halftime, interchange Jimmy Wihongi making an impressive impact by throwing a dummy and busting a tackle to dot down.
But an error in the set after scoring proved costly for the Bulls, with the Vulcans crossing out wide for a 26-4 lead at the break.
The second half started in more auspicious style for the hosts, however, as hulking veteran Champ Betham crashed over from close range.
Any hopes of a fight-back quickly evaporated, though, with the Vulcans running in two tries before the hour mark to set up a commanding 38-8 advantage.
In a frenetic finish, the rampant Auckland outfit piled on another four tries in the last 15 minutes.
The SENZ Canterbury Bulls head to Dunedin for their final round-robin match next Sunday in a virtual semi-final playoff against Otago Whalers, who impressed in a 36-20 loss to the Stingrays in their Round 2 road trip.
Auckland Vulcans 42 defeated SENZ Canterbury Bulls 8 (Jimmy Wihongi, Champ Betham tries) at Ngā Puna Wai, Sunday, September 10.