THE Cornish All Blacks started 2014 in style with an impressive National League Two South victory over in-form Canterbury.
The visitors were second in the table when they arrived at Polson Bridge but were made to look ordinary for long spells by the Launceston men on the way to an 18-6 win.
Tim Mathias and Ryan Westren were the All Blacks’ try-scorers but there could have been many more, particularly in a first half they completely dominated.
The All Blacks started well and scored the game’s first try in the tenth minute. Centre Westren went close in the right corner before prop Mathias arrived to apply the finish.
Kieron Lewitt was unable to add the extras, skewing his conversion kick to the right of the posts.
Launceston had further chances to extend their lead. Lewitt was unable to touch down after kicking and chasing past the Canterbury try line and lock Ben Hilton perhaps lacked composure having broken through the visitors’ defensive line with three men to his right.
The All Blacks’ profligacy was punished when Canterbury centre Tom Best struck three points back with just nine minutes of the first half remaining.
It was just a temporary setback for the hosts, however, as Westren was on hand to finish after a perfectly-timed pass from fellow centre Nielson Webber.
Lewitt then added the conversion. And the full-back even had time to add two penalties to his tally before the sides departed for the half-time break.
Canterbury came out for the second half with huge intensity, despite being a man down after lock Ben Massey had been sent to the sin bin for dissent.
Indeed, they scored with another Best penalty as the hour mark approached. But although they continued to apply the pressure, the All Blacks held firm, restricting Canterbury to just six points right to the final whistle.
The All Blacks’ success means they continue unbeaten at home in the 2013-14 campaign. Cornish All Blacks head coach Spike Rainford was full of praise for prop Sisa Naqasimi, who took the man-of-the-match award.
He said: “He came back into the side and had a massive game today. He was quite rightly man of the match and our scrum today was on parity with them and we pushed them off the ball quite a few times.
“It all just shows that we’ve moved forward now and we gave ourselves a good platform off our scrum which is another massive bonus.
“Our line-out has been good and it has been all season. We pride ourselves on that and the guys work really hard at it.
“That is a banker for us and we’ve now brought the scrummaging up to parity with that and that gives us platforms all across the pitch now.”
The All Blacks now face an even more challenging encounter next weekend when they travel to league leaders Hartpury College.
EXMOUTH’S National League Two South match against Bournemouth was called off as a result of the recent poor weather following a pitch inspection on Friday evening.