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Mako overcome Harbour 32-20 in tough Albany visit

Tasman made it three from three in the first three weeks of the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership for the first time since 2015.

Thriving on the chance for some action after the first few weeks of the All Blacks Investec Rugby Championship campaign, Frizell ran with Michael Jones-like speed around the ground while also providing some ginger in the pack which gave the home unit a good working over in the first half and some key impetus, especially in the set-up to what proved the match-clinching try in the second.

That last try came after North Harbour failed to claim a lineout throw and Tasman built their play with Frizell out on the right flank to interchange passes with wing Tima Faingaanuku before Frizell turned the ball back inside for halfback Finlay Christie to cap a busy game with the try 11 minutes from the end.

There was plenty of vigour in the forward exchanges throughout but Tasman had the better of it in the first half to enjoy a 22-13 lead at the break. Prop Tyrel Lomax, lock Quentin Strange and hooker Andrew Makalio were standouts in a busy Tasman pack. Home lock Gerard Cowley-Tuioti produced a competitive display in an attempt to counter but the momentum was always with Tasman.

Three tries had been posted. In the 14th minute wing Tima Faingaanuku finished off some fine driving play inside him by taking a long pass from first five-eighths Mitchell Hunt. 

Just after Cowley-Tuioti showed the home pack were capable of some productive work of their own from a lineout drive by scoring a 20th minute try.

Tasman responded with a lineout set play of their own which had Frizell running a dummy line in the middle of the backline which created space for Faingaanuku to come in from his wing and give fullback Will Jordan the chance to use his speed to run in for a try two minutes later.

Probably the most effective phase of Tasman dominance followed with some strong pick-and-goes in the home 22 from which Frizell scored in the 30th minute. In the process of scoring his try he had a head clash with flanker Dillon Hunt who failed to return for North Harbour after failing his HIA test.

North Harbour had moments before halftime when they had the chance to push for a try but were unable to breach the Tasman defensive line and when a penalty chance presented itself the opted for the penalty goal chance which Gatland goaled.

Penalties early in the second half conceded by Tasman proved costly as Gatland was able to kick North Harbour into position and when Gatland was able to launch a cross kick to wing Matt Duffie's corner, the All Black wing to Britain and France last year soared high to pluck the ball from the air and then go to ground and stretch over the line to score in the corner.

Duane Monkley Medal points: Finlay Christie 3, Shannon Frizell 2, Tyrel Lomax 1. 

Scorers: North Harbour 20 (Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Matt Duffie tries; Bryn Gatland 2 con, 2 pen) Tasman 32 (Tima Faingaanuku, Will Jordan, Shannon Frizell, Finlay Christie tries; Mitchell Hunt 3 con, 2 pen). HT: 13-22