Mako hammer Razorbacks in final pre-season fixture
By Jonty Dine [Nelson App]
Though coaches and players will tell you the results bear little consequence, its hard to ignore the emphatic statement made by the Tasman Mako against Ranfurly Shield holders Otago in pre-season action this evening.
The Mako ran in eight ties in trying conditions as they hammered the men from the deep south 54-19.
Rain fell shortly after kick-off at Trafalgar Park and remained throughout the first half but didn’t deter the Mako from playing some enterprising footy.
But it was Otago who opened the scoring through captain Dylan Nel with the Mako made a number of handling errors early as they struggled to adjust to the conditions.
It took until the twentieth minute for Tasman to get on the board when Havili broke the line and linked with Crusaders teammate Will Jordan for Tasman’s first try.
The Mako pounced with a second soon after when Levi Aumua snapped up a loose pass and again found the ever-present Jordan looming on the inside.
Skipper Havili was warned for repeated infringements from his side as Otago prop Aki Seiuli powered his way over the chalk to bring his side within two.
Tasman’s response was immediate as Leicester Fainganuuku found himself in space on the left flank following some slick hands form the insides and was far too strong for the Otago cover.
Andrew Makalio made it four for the hosts just before the break and Mitch Hunt continued his perfect night with the boot as Tasman took a 28-12 half-tome lead.
Finlay Christie, Wyatt Crockett, Liam Squire, Blair Prinsep, Hugh Roach, Tim O’Malley, Jamie Spowart, Sione Havili and Tima Fainganuuku were all introduced after oranges.
While the rain stopped so did the momentum as tensions threatened to boil over early in the second.
However, Squire soon made his impact in typical Squire fashion, ranging out on the right wing in support of Tima Faingaanuku as Tasman stretched its lead to 25.
Tasman cleared the pine with Isaiah Miller and Fetui Paea entering the fray but fluidity had certainly ceased.
The Mako finally crossed the chalk again as O’Malley kicked to the wing to Leicester Faingaanuku who found himself in acres of space.
The winger simply had to catch the ball and ground it for his second and Tasman’s sixth as the result was well and truly assured.
Replacement hooker Roach stretched the advantage, the Mako pack again proved too powerful close to the line as Tasman neared its half century.
Just as Tasman looked set to bring up fifty, winger Taylor Haugh swooped on a Christie error and sprinted 80m for a late consolation.
However, the Mako did have the final say as Alex Nankivell ran a superb line off O’Malley to seal a dominant win.
Welsh halfback Declan Smith says after some hard yakka at training, the boys fully deserved the win.
“We have all come from different areas from the country and the boy did a great job tonight.”
However, Smith says the side has plenty of lessons to learn from tonight’s hit out.
“We will be back I the classroom on Monday and figure out what we need to do before next Saturday.”
Tasman 54 (Will Jordan 2, Leicester Faingaanuku 2, Andrew Makalio, Liam Squire, Hugh Roach, Alex Nankivell tries, Mitchell Hunt 5, Tim O’Malley 2 cons) def Otago 19 (Nel, Seiuli, Haugh tries, Ione 1, Haugh 1 cons)