Hunt Leads Tasman to Memorable Victory

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Sunday, September 10, 2017    Eddy Bramley    Getty Images

The Crusaders star scored 22 individual points, including a 69th minute try, to help the home side over the line and deal the Lions their first defeat of the season. 


Tasman dominated the early exchanges and would have been rewarded with an early try if it weren’t for some excellent defending by a Wellington side who lost captain Brad Shields to a knee injury in the tenth minute.

Tasman were their own worst enemy making a number of mistakes and conceding too many turnovers and were punished in the 11th minute when Alex Fidow broke away and dotted down against the run of play. Jackson Garden-Bashop converted to give Wellington a 7-3 lead.

The first half would continue to be defined by Tasman’s mistakes. After their line out just five metres from the Wellington try line was deemed not straight, Wellington went on the attack and punished the home side with another length of the field try. This time it was Wes Goosen who broke away and ran the length of the field after picking up a cheeky Jackson Garden-Bashop grubber kick. Goosen looked like he could have gone the whole way himself but instead offloaded to Ben Lam who dived over to increase Wellingtons lead.

Tasman, however, were not phased and their strong attacking play was rewarded in the 33rd minute when Tim Perry forced his way over the line after 14 phases of attack. Mitchell Hunt added the extras to bring the Mako’s within just a point and make it 14-13.

But Tasman would again become undone by their own mistakes and continued to give away penalties late in the first half. Off the back of a solid scrum, Wellington halfback Kemara Hauiti-Parapara darted towards the Tasman line and from the resulting ruck Sam Lousi charged over. Garden-Bashop again converted to give Wellington a 21-13 halftime lead. 

Wellington continued their charge at the start of the second half and when Meteaki Kafatolu sold a dummy and broke the line he found lock James Blackwell who stormed over the line to give Wellington a 28-13 lead.

It wasn’t until the 50th minute that Tasman sparked back into life and regained the ascendency. After a brilliant step to break the line, Mitchell Hunt found an inside ball to Will Jordan who dived over to make it 20-28.

And nine minutes later Alex Nankivell broke away and grubber kicked to the corner where James Lowe dived over to put his side back in it. Hunt continued his good form with the boot and slotted the conversion to bring the score back to 27-28.

Tasman continued to pile on the pressure and took the lead through a Mitchell Hunt penalty. And two minutes later Hunt capitalised on a turnover in midfield and found himself on the end of another string of Tasman phases to give the Mako’s a 37-28 lead.

Wellington kept on fighting and were rewarded for their efforts with six minutes to go when Losi Filipo dotted over in the corner. Garden-Bashop again added the extras to make it 37-35 and set up a nail-biting final few minutes. However, Tasman held on in the dying moments to record their second win of the campaign.

Tasman 37 (Tim Perry, Will Jordan, James Lowe tries, Mitchell Hunt 3 pen, try, 4 con) Wellington 35 (Alex Fidow, Ben Lam, James Lowe, Sam Louisi, Losi Filipo tries, Jackson Garden-Bachop 5 con)