Mako continue unbeaten run with strong performance to defeat Waikato
David Havili scored three tries as the Mako defeated Waikato at Trafalgar Park this afternoon. Photo: Barry Whitnall/Shuttersport
By Jonty Dine [Nelson Weekly / Nelson App]
After two wins to kick off its campaign, Tasman faced its toughest assignment to date at Trafalgar Park this afternoon.
With a slew of players on All Black duty, the Mako showed it has plenty of depth with a strong performance to defeat Waikato 34-17.
The Mooloo were no match for the defending champions with captain David Havili scoring a blistering hat-trick as his side takes a maximum 15 points from its first three games.
Waikato enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges but their dominance wouldn't last.
With Waikato hot on attack and set to score, Havili snatched an intercept and set off from 90 metres out, showing just enough toe to get to the line with Bailyn Sulivan hot on his tail.
After a period of stalemate with both sides playing some enterprising rugby but lacking execution, Mitch Hunt struck a penalty into a stiff breeze for an 8-0 lead.
Waikato would get on the board courtesy of a classy piece of play between Fletcher Smith and Quinn Tupea.
Te Ahiwaru Crikidaveta was denied a try just on the stroke of halftime but the Mako would not be.
In a sight Mako fans have become accustomed to, hooker Andrew Makalio rumbled over on the back of a rolling maul as Tasman took a 13-5 advantage.
The momentum carried over as Alex Nankivell went in to kick of the scoring in the second half.
The flood gates began to open as Havili strolled over for his second and the bonus point try for the hosts.
Valynce Te Whare pulled one back for the Mooloo’s to signal they weren’t done with yet as first five Fletcher Smith then split the Mako defence to go in under the bar.
However, the hope for a comeback was short-lived as Nankivell linked with his skipper to send him away for a hat-trick.
Tasman 34 (David Havili 3, Andrew Makalio, Alex Nankivell tries; Mitch Hunt, 3 cons, 1 pens) def Waikato 17 (Quinn Tupea, Valynce Te Whare, Fletcher Smith, tries, Smith 1 cons)