Mako secure second consecutive Final
By Jonty Dine [Nelson Weekley / Nelson App]
The Tasman Mako are into the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership final for a second year running.
Tasman will have the chance to defend its title and go back to back next Saturday when they take on Auckland at Eden Park courtesy of its hard fought 19-10 win over Bay of Plenty tonight.
The Mako booked its berth in the big dance next weekend after defeating Bay of Plenty in a tightly fought contest at Trafalgar Park this evening.
Mitch Hunt put first points on the board after just three minutes with a relatively easy shot at goal.
Tasman were guilty of forcing the issue with unnecessary offloads early on but reverted to its bread and butter in the 20th minute as Quentin MacDonald scored the game’s opener through an expertly executed rolling maul.
A second soon followed as the powerful Leicester Fainga’anuku was rewarded for his numerous tackle busts in the opening exchanges with a try in the left corner.
A controversial penalty put the Steamers hot on attack and eventually saw Sione Havili sent to the bin for a professional foul.
BOP took immediate advantage of the extra man, Joe Webber weaving his way through the Mako line to get his side in the game.
The try ensured the Steamers would trail by just six at the break.
The visitors introduced plenty of power from the pine in the form of All Black Sevens star Regan Ware and former All Blacks halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi.
Otere Black edged his team three points closer with his first penalty but Hunt would respond with his own long-range effort to make it 16-10 with twenty to play.
Tasman would also inject fresh legs from the bench to try close out the result, but BOP began to build momentum.
Another crucial play by Fainga’anuku sent Tasman into Bop territory where Hunt would nail his third penalty to stretch the lead to nine as the clock ticked under seven.
Bay of Plenty fought right until the final whistle but came up just short against the 2019 champions.
After Auckland defeated Waikato earlier in the day, Tasman will now head north in a bid to win consecutive premiership titles.
Tasman 19 (Quentin MacDonald, Leicester Fainga’anuku, tries, Mitch Hunt, 3 pens) defeated Bay of Plenty 10 (Joe Webber try, Kaleb Trask 1 con, Otere Black 1 pen)