Sunday, October 31, 2010
Canterbury are on track to pick up their third consecutive National Provincial Championship after they beat Wellington 57-41 in a frenetic ITM Cup semi final in Christchurch on Friday. They will face Waikato in the final, who edged Auckland.
In a see-saw battle that had 60 points scored in the first half alone, Canterbury managed to hang in and come out on top to achieve the home final next week. Ten tries were scored in total in a thoroughly entertaining game that was unfortunately watched by less than 7000 people at the ground.
Colin Slade showed his quality yet again as he kicked 11 from 11 at goal, but it was Robbie Fruean who reiterated the feeling that he should be on the end of year All Blacks tour as he scored a try and set up two others. The 22 year old former Wellington player caused havoc all night long, prompting coach Rob Penney to state hes ready for Test rugby.
"If they could find room for him, he's ready to go," Penney said. "He's got some areas of his game that he's developing but look at the form he's in. There's been worse players wearing the All Black jersey than him. He'd be a fantastic addition to their group."
He may still get the call up if they decide to replace injured wing Sitiveni Sivivatu. Fruean played wing for Wellington last season, so is no stranger to the position. He said Friday was one of his best games, but he remained humble, saying he could play better.
"We wanted to create the opportunity out wide, but we had to make sure we set it up inside first. The guys running the decoy behind me created the opportunity for me, massively. Tu Umaga-Marshall ran a nice decoy line and drew the 12 out wide and left the 10 by himself," he said about the try he scored.
Penney said theyre hoping for a better turnout for the final after the disappointing number of fans there, but he believes the economy, rather than disinterest, is the reason for it. Sky has all the games on television and a large percentage of the population have access to Sky," he said.
"It's Cup and Show Week next week and people are still recovering from the earthquake. They just don't have the dollars to throw around since the recession.
"The guys love playing in front of big crowds. When we played Wellington on the afternoon of the quake game, it just added so much. It was a great game and people really enjoyed it.
"These guys are playing a really exciting brand; there's a bit of edge-of-your-seat stuff at times and Waikato have got firepower right across the park. I expect it will be a cracker, he added.