The Tasman Mako's unbeaten Mitre10 Cup run came to an emphatic end at Eden Park tonight as Auckland gave last year's finalists a reality check with a dominant 36-10 victory. After three wins to start their 2018 campaign, the Mako were thoroughly outplayed by an Auckland side starring returning All Black Patrick Tuipulotu.
BY JONTY DINE [Nelson App]
The Mako looked good early on as Finlay Christie set up Ethan Blackadder after a blistering break from the base.
However, the first forty was the Tuipulotu show, the 16-test All Black bagging three tries, his second a stunner as the towering lock showed a clean set of heels to out-sprint the covering Mako defence.A Mitch Hunt error handed Auckland a third before Tuipulotu crashed over for a first half hat-trick right on before the break for a commanding 19-point lead.
The action wavered in the second as neither team could add to its half-time score until the 76th minute when Akira Ioane powered after another Mako error.
The loss sees Tasman fall to third on the premiership table with Auckland leap-frogging them into second.
Losing skipper David Havili says the "classy" Auckland team dominated the Mako at the breakdown and piled on the defensive pressure."
"We just lost our shape, we will take leanings from this game and turn up again next week."
The Mako return home for their first appearance at Trafalgar Park when they meet current Ranfurly Shield holders Taranaki on Friday night.
"We are looking forward to the challenge," Havili says.
Auckland 36 (Patrick Tuipulotu 3, Melani Nanai, Akira Ioane tries, Harry Plumber 4 cons, 1 pen)v Tasman 10 (Ethan Blackader try, Mitch Hunt 1 con, 1 pen). HT: 29-10