Taranaki fend off King Country
Taranaki comfortably fended off King Country 67-16 to succeed in their first Ranfurly Shield defence of the year.
The holders ran in 10 tries to one in sunny conditions at Inglewood, taking control from the outset and leading 31-6 at half-time.
Wing Waisake Naholo and replacement back Kurt Baker both bagged two tries while flyhalf Jack Cameron scored 22 points, comprising a try, seven conversions and a penalty.
King Country's try came via an intercept to wing Paul Olsen midway through the second spell. Fullback Kurt Strachan kicked 11 points for the outclassed Heartland Championship team.
Tries: Naholo 2, Cameron, Hayward, Rickards, Marshall, Lewis, Baker 2, Hall
Cons: Cameron 7
For King Country:
Pens: Strachan 3
Taranaki: 15 James Marshall, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Willie Rickards (captain), 12 Isaia Tuifua, 11 Avon Lewis, 10 Jack Cameron, 9 Kylem O'Donnell, 8 Mitchell Brown, 7 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 6 Kane Barrett, 5 Leighton Price, 4 Nemia Soqeta, 3 Willie Ioane, 2 Timo Tutavaha, 1 Carl Carmichael.
Replacements: 16 Laurence Corlett, 17 Michael Bent, 18 Jarrad Hoeata, 19 Berny Hall, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Jayden Hayward, 22 Kurt Baker.
King Country: 15 Kurt Strachan, 14 Semeli Koniferedi, 13 Luke Draper, 12 Tanner Vili, 11 Paul Olsen, 10 Sean Cressy, 9 Himona Knowles, 8 Beau Taylor (captain), 7 Hamish Alabaster, 6 Jimi Hona, 5 Kurt Houghton, 4 Carl Alcock, 3 Brian Mansfield, 2 Nick Rule, 1 James Ritchie.
Replacements: 16 Sam Holder, 17 Dion Adams, 18 Jake Hiriaki, 19 Rob Sherson, 20 Ben Draper, 21 Jamie Maarhuis, 22 Dean Church.