Cornish All Blacks back on track with impressive win
Cornish All Blacks 39, Taunton 24
CORNISH All Blacks put the disappointment of defeat at Clifton quickly behind them as they got their campaign back on track with a bonus-point success over Taunton.
It was just the result they needed against a side coached by former Polson Bridge favourite Tony Yapp, and who included lock Chris Bentley, who was with Aviva Premiership side Exeter Chiefs last season.
Delighted All Blacks' head coach Cliff Rainford said: "I am really happy and very pleased with the performance.
"After the week before against Clifton, it was great to get a good victory at home to take into another home game against Lydney on Saturday.
"I am really happy for the guys, because we knew we hadn't played our best rugby at Clifton, and to turn it around in seven days is really pleasing."
Taunton were still very much in the game in the early stages of the second half, when they only trailed 18-17 and had the wind and the slope in their favour, but they were hit by 21 unanswered points in the space of ten minutes to kill them off.
"It was probably the most mature and controlled game of rugby I have seen the All Blacks play this year," admitted Rainford.
"We set our stall out at training on Tuesday and Thursday on what we wanted to try and do and how we wanted to play the game, and in what areas of the pitch, and went out and did exactly that, which was really, really good and very pleasing for me."
Both backs and forwards combined well throughout the game in what Rainford agreed had been a fine team effort.
"We used all 20 players, and everybody did really well," he said.
A penalty by All Blacks full back Kieron Lewitt and a Yapp drop goal for Taunton made it 3-3 after 10 minutes, before Lewitt slotted another successful kick.
In the 21st minute, a break by fly half Jake Murphy set up a try for centre Lewis Paterson, with Lewitt adding the extras to make it 13-3, but Taunton – who also had former All Blacks Aron Struminski and Gary Kingdom in their starting line-up – hit back when centre and skipper Jemba Bull exploited some poor tackling to cross, with Brett Turner converting.
The All Blacks then lost lock Ben Hilton to the sin bin, but they actually managed to score another try while he was off the field, with scrum half Richard Friend sending left wing Liam Yeo racing away down the blindside to score to make it 18-10 to the hosts at the break.
Four minutes after the interval, the Titans got to within one point with a try by tight-head prop Gordon Howells off the back of a ruck, with Turner converting, but the All Blacks then enjoyed a devastating spell.
No.8 Josh Lord stormed over from a ruck, Hilton added another try, and then Friend put in Lord for his second, with the accurate Lewitt converting all three for a 39-17 lead.
However, Taunton refused to give up, and in the last quarter they came spiritedly back again as they searched for bonus points.
All Blacks' replacement Lloyd Duke put in a try-saving tackle on Titans hooker Robbie Beddard, but the visitors did manage a late consolation score through openside flanker Edward Lee, with Yapp supplying the extras.