PETER JONES [Marlborough App]
A Tasman Mako XV showed their pre-season
preparation is coming together nicely with a decisive 47-15 win over their
Manawatu counterparts in Porirua today.
With their Mitre 10 Cup campaign kicking
off on August 17 against Canterbury, the 2017 runners-up gave their build-up a
timely boost with a performance coach Leon MacDonald described as "a good
win in the end”.
The Mako led 21-5 at the break and ran
in seven tries overall while showing defensive resilience to limit their
"Overall we are pretty pleased with
how we fronted”, said MacDonald. "Our defence was outstanding. We held
them out with good maul defence close to our line on three or four occasions.
"We created a lot in attack as well
so we were pretty happy with both our attack and defence.”
A few players put their hands up for
selection in the Mako squad for the NPC campaign, including former North
Harbour hooker Ray Niuia.
"Ray had an outstanding game … his throwing was good and he gave us some
really good go-forward with his ball carries,” said MacDonald.
"Vernon Fredericks stepped up a
notch and looked like the Vernon we are used to seeing in the Mako jersey. That
was really pleasing. Jed Brown was also good, he’s really fitting into the
group well, on and off the field.”
MacDonald was also impressed with the
70-minute effort of fullback Will Jordan, the 2017 Mako standout becoming a
late inclusion in the team, plus fellow pacy outside back Jamie Spowart.
He said while it was a heartening effort
there was still plenty of work to be done before the cup competition kicks off.
"A lot of the players had their
moments but it wasn’t a perfect performance – we blew three or four good
chances, making line breaks then seeing passes go over the touchline or behind
the support players. There’s still plenty to be done around cohesion.
"The group is changing continually.
We have players like Will [Jordan] coming in at the last minute and our Super
players will be coming back in at different times.”
Mako’s final pre-season game is against Wellington in Renwick on Thursday,
August 9, with a 2pm kick-off.
expects to have the Super rugby players from the Highlanders and Chiefs back
for that clash, their participation on Thursday dependent on their season’s
workload so far.
Mako XV 47 (Tries to Caleb Havili, Will Jordan, James Hawkey, Nick Foxley,
Willie Havili, penalty try, Jesse MacDonald, six conversions) Manawatu XV 15.