Under-manned Tasman outlast Otago in Dunedin

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Saturday, September 16, 2017    Getty Images

The Makos held a 29-13 lead early in the second half, after a controversial yellow card for Otago that resulted in a penalty try.

However, two quick moments of madness to Tasman captain Alex Ainley and Levi Aumua saw them yellow and red carded respectively, within three minutes of each other.

Otago did their best to steal the match, and scored twice in the final 10 minutes to reduce the deficit to two points. However, Tasman's defence held firm and they collected an important bag of points.

Both sides entered the game on a two-match winning streak, with Otago (21 tries) dotting down for twice as many five-pointers as the Makos (10).

The win was the Makos' third consecutive victory and saw them move into Premiership contention, while Otago solidified their spot in the Championship top-four with a losing bonus point.

Tasman made the most of the perfect overhead conditions to take control in the first quarter of the match, and Lowe had plenty of influence. The left wing provided a crucial inside pass to help fullback Will Jordan score his third try of the season.

He was then the benefactor, scoring his own thanks to an inside ball from Ethan Blackadder for a deserved 15-3 lead after 15 minutes.

The aerial battle was largely even in the first half, but Otago had bragging rights after scoring from a Tasman high-ball. First five-eighths Josh Ioane got to a high ball first on the bounce ahead of Lowe, and charged his way to the line. Mitchell Scott, in his 49th game, then darted towards the line before calmly released Teihorangi Walden with a pinpoint inside cut-out pass to reduce the deficit to five.

Things were turning Otago's way, but Tasman centre Levi Aumua snapped that momentum to give the visitors a deserved halftime lead. The No.13 barrelled his way through six defenders, and sidestepped another, to give the visitors a 22-13 advantage after the first 40 minutes.

A controversial yellow card gave Tasman a penalty try and a comfortable 16-point margin that would ultimately prove to be the difference.

The hosts needed some help, and they got some from their opponents. Ainley and Aumua were given a yellow card and a red card respectively within minutes of each other to throw the game back in Otago's favour.

Otago's late tries to Sio Tomkinson and Sione Teu kept the match in the balance until referee Mike Fraser's final whistle.

Otago 27 (Sione Teu, Sio Tomkinson, Teihorangi Walden tries; Fletcher Smith 3 con, 2 pen) Tasman 29 (Penalty try, Levi Aumua, James Lowe, Will Jordan tries; Mitch Hunt 2 con, pen). HT: 13-22.