Mako canter 23 -8 over Canterbury in Christchurch
Ethan Blackadder put in a superb shift at blindside for the Mako as his side defeated provincial powerhouses Canterbury in Christchurch this afternoon. Photo: Barry Whitnall/Shuttersport (File)
The Tasman Mako has comprehensively achieved the toughest task in provincial rugby, defeating Canterbury in Canterbury.
Tasman dominated the red and blacks right from kick-off this afternoon, declaring themselves as early competition favourites with the 23-8 victory.
The Mako scored two first half tries, including a scorcher from winger Leicester Faingaanuku to lead 18-3 at halftime and effectively put the result to bed soon after the break with a third.
Ethan Blackadder was immense at flanker for the visitors while halfback Finlay Christie controlled his troops effectively giving the likes of Will Jordan and Levi Aumua room to make inroads of which they made plenty.
Tasman now sit top of the premiership table one point ahead of 2019 champions Auckland though Waikato could usurp them with a bonus point win over Bay of Plenty later today.
The win broke a 24 year record for Canterbury who had not loss back to back games to kick off an NPC campaign since 1996.
Skipper David Havili says they spoke throughout the week about how defence would be the key in Christchurch.
"The boys really stood up in the second half when they threw a lot at us."
Tasman took just five minutes to cross Canterbury’s line, Havili’s break giving Aumua a simple run in down the right flank for the opening try.
Brett Cameron and Mitch Hunt traded penalties before Faingaanuku made a rampaging bust from inside his own half, breaking four tackles on his way to score Tasman's second.
Canterbury made the perfect start to the second half, winning a turnover on its own line as Josh McKay sped 99metres to score the hosts first try.
However the Mako responded almost immediately through Andrew Makalio, the try shutting the gate on Canterbury who offered little in the way of resistance and struggled to find answers to Tasman's resolute defence.
Tasman 23 (Levi Aumua, Leicester Faingaanuku, Shannon Frizell tries, Mitch Hunt 1 cons, 2 pens) defeated Canterbury 8 (Josh McKay tries, Brent Cameron 1 pen)