Tasman achieve a first win at Eden park
Thursday, October 6, 2016 Lynn McConnell Getty Images
With a game in hand, the moved into third place on the ladder, one point behind Auckland whose last game is against third-placed Taranaki.
Tasman came into the game far more focused than the home side. Auckland were sloppy with their ball control and Tasman leapt in with good effect, applied power through their scrum and had good reward for some strong driving play from hooker Andrew Makalio especially.
Then nine minutes into the game a partially-charged clearing kick on the Auckland line by Jono Hickey saw Tasman run the ball back and as play inched towards the line it was a splendid line run by No.8 Pete Samu that saw him get across for the opening try.
But that seemed to shake Auckland awake and greater continuity in the forward driving resulted in a significant momentum change and after a strong run by lock Michael Fatialofa the forwards ground their way to the line and it was lock Scott Scrafton who cork-screwed out of the ruck to score by the posts.
Five minutes later, after 23 minutes, left wing Pryor Collier ran into the line to take a back pass from second five-eighths Vince Aso before linking with wing Lolagi Visinia and fullback Melani Nanai with Collier supporting them to take an in-pass and score in the corner.
A penalty goal by Banks and a try to prop Tim Perry, coming after Visinia was forced to kick a ball dead just before it trickled off the over the goal-line. Tasman won the five-metre scrum and built well to rumble over for the try to reclaim a 20-14 lead.
Two minutes later Visinia, in midfield, chipped a kick over the top but Tasman wing Caleb Makene took and then threw an in-field pass only to see Visinia intercept it and race to the corner to score.
Tasman got back within one point from a penalty goal, which saw Banks achieve 700 points in first-class rugby. He had earlier scored the 10 points to achieve his century for the competition.
As in the first half, Tasman made the better start and a superb run into the line from the blindside wing by Caleb Makene gave Tasman impetus and after a patient build-up second five-eighths David Havili ran onto a pass from halfback Billy Guyton on another fine angle to provide the opportunity to break the line and score by the posts.
Auckland recovered however, and after two penalties five-metres out from the Tasman line they got reward for their choice of lineout plays when from a resulting scrum, Akira Ioane, packing on the back of the scrum, ran right, passed to Nanai who quickly flicked it on to Visinia who scored in the corner.
However, it was Auckland's indiscipline that provided three penalty goals in the middle stages of the second half, one of them a 60m effort from Havili to get out to a 39-31 lead. And yet another penalty in the 70th minute allowed Tasman to play the penalty lineout option. From the lineout win, a maul was launched and it was lock Quinten Strange who was ruled to have scored.
Scorers: Auckland 31 (Scott Scrafton, Pryor Collier, Lolagi Visinia 2 tries; Simon Hickey 4 con, pen) Tasman 49 (Pete Samu, Tim Perry, David Havili, Quentin Strange tries; Marty Banks 4 con, 6 pen; David Havili pen). HT: 24-23
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