Tasman Makos underway in 2017

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Sunday, September 3, 2017    Getty Images

It looked like the Makos had it in the bag in the 65th minute with a 31-12 lead, but a James Lowe yellow card opened the door for a fast finishing Waikato. The rampant Mooloos crossed for three tries in the final 10 minutes to close the gap to 31-29 but replacement first five-eighth Matthew Landsdowne couldn’t land the conversion from out wide to steal the draw. 


Waikato have been in great early season form in the Mitre 10 Cup and carried that into the start of this match with a spectacular try. Fullback Zac Guilford put the home side hot on attack before wing Iliesa Tavuyara deceived the Makos defence with a no-look pop ball to put prop Loni Uhila over for the first try.

It was an ominous start by Waikato, but Tasman showed great composure to hold off the initial Waikato onslaught and gain a territorial advantage through the boot of first five-eighth Mitchell Hunt.

Tasman needed some confidence and got it when halfback Billy Guyton showed great determination to fight his way over the line. Not long after, All Blacks squad member David Havili laid on a brilliant skip pass to put Vernon Fredericks over to claim a 14-5 lead for the visitors. It was a much-needed confidence boost for the Makos after enduring a horror opening two rounds.

But Waikato are a team you don’t want to let your guard down against, and electric centre Sevu Reece showed why by slicing through the Tasman defence to put Waikato hot on attack. After a number of steady phases, Reece finished off the opportunity by darting over from the base of the ruck.

For the first 20 minutes of the second half, Tasman looked like the team that made the 2016 Premiership final. Waikato were shut out of the game as Tasman gained an advantage up front and looked dangerous out wide. Tries to young fullback Will Jordan and skipper Jordan Taufua extended the Makos lead to 31-12.

The game was then flipped on its head when Lowe was yellow-carded and Waikato came storming back. Waikato’s final try was particularly impressive as they worked their way up to the Tasman line from over 60 metres out before Tawera Kerr-Barlow went over. But in the end the conversion was astray and a relieved Tasman walked away with a maximum five points.


Waikato 29 (Loni Uhila, Sevu Reece, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Zac Guilford, Tawera Kerr-Barlow tries, Matt Landsdowne 2 con) Tasman 31 (Billy Guyton, Vernon Fredericks, Will Jordan, Jordan Taufua tries, Mitchell Hunt 4 con, pen)
HT: 12-14