Northland broke Bay of Plenty's unbeaten start to the National Provincial Championship by defeating their more fancied opponents 30-23 in a spirited performance in Whangarei on Thursday.
The home side raced out to an early 10-0 lead thanks to the steady boot of goal-kicker Lachie Munro - who ended with a match haul of 15 points - and a try in the corner by left wing Bryce Heem.
Bay of Plenty replied with a penalty by flyhalf Daniel Waenga, but Northland hit back just three minutes later when a great pass from centre Derek Carpenter put lock Mark Burman over for their second five-pointer.
Bay of Plenty responded with a try to New Zealand Under-20 star Sam Cane, but the home team struck a crucial blow when Heem went over for his second try on the half-time hooter to make it 24-10 to Northland at the break.
Bay of Plenty fought hard in the second half but they were undone by a series of basic errors and despite Lelia Masaga and Toby Arnold crossing for tries, Waenga could not convert either of them and the hosts managed to hold on for an impressive upset victory.
Tries: Heem 2, Burman
Cons: Munro 3
Pens: Munro 3
For Bay of Plenty:
Tries: Cane, Masaga, Arnold
Pens: Waenga 2
Northland: 15 Lachie Munro, 14 Simon Munro, 13 Derek Carpenter, 12 Aaron Bancroft, 11 Bryce Heem, 10 Ash Moeke, 9 Rhyan Caine, 8 Cameron Eyre, 7 Dan Pryor, 6 Joel McKenty (captain), 5 Marty Veale, 4 Bryce Williams, 3 Scott Vessey, 2 Ross Wright, 1 Justin Davies.
Replacements: 16 Tevita Vaipulu, 17 Aterea Davis, 18 Mark Burman, 19 Dan Faleafa, 20 Wayne Ngaluafe, 21 Jack McPhee, 22 Warren Dunn, 23 Jamie Corsi.
Bay of Plenty: 15 Chris Noakes, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Jason Hona, 12 Steve Kefu, 11 Lance MacDonald, 10 Daniel Waenga, 9 Taniela Moa, 8 Luke Braid (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Carl Axtens, 5 Leighton Price, 4 Leon Power, 3 Bronson Murray, 2 Daniel Perrin, 1 Pingi Tala'apitanga.
Replacements: 16 John Pareanga, 17 Tristan Moran, 18 Culum Retallick, 19 Tanerau Latimer, 20 Jamie Nutbrown, 21 Toby Arnold, 22 Ben W Smith, 23 Greg Pleasants-Tate.
Referee: Mike Fraser
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