Jonah Lomu barely touched the ball as North Harbour lost 23-3 to Auckland at Eden Park on Friday. The visitors trailed 10-3 at the break.
Like the rest of his team-mates, the former All Black winger never got going, as Auckland ensured they would finish top of Pool A in the New Zealand Cup. It was the home side’s 22nd win out of their last 28 matches against their neighbours north of the bridge.
The game was disrupted by the whistle of referee Gary Wise who showed three yellow cards for professional fouls. The first was against Auckland prop Saimone Taumoepeau, while North Harbour halfback Junior Poluleuligaga and prop Mike Noble followed him later to the sinbin.
It was while Noble was off in the closing minutes that Auckland replacement prop Chris Heard went over for his team’s second try and extend the winning margin.
Auckland, who suffered their first loss of the season to Wellington last week, were led by a strong ball-winning game from lock Kurtis Haiu and 13 points off the boot of Brent Ward, who kicked five from five.
Auckland â€“ Tries: Daniel Braid, Chris Heard. Conversions: Brent Ward (2). Penalties: Ward (3).
North Harbour â€“ Penalties: Tusi Pisi (3).