Website proudly created by

North Harbour end Tasman's 15-game win streak

North Harbour end Tasman's 15-game win streak

Let’s start with Bryn Gatland first when praising North Harbour for their shock 40-24 win over Tasman in their Mitre 10 Cup match in Albany on Sunday.

Harbour No 10 Gatland was by no means the sole reason his side snapped their losing streak and ended premiership champion Tasman’s 15-game unbeaten run, but when a chap kicks contributes 20 points by kicking all 8 attempts at goal you have to give him his dues.

Bryn Gatland of North Harbour sends the ball down the park during the Mitre 10 Cup match against Tasman in Albany.
HANNAH PETERS/GETTY IMAGES
Bryn Gatland of North Harbour sends the ball down the park during the Mitre 10 Cup match against Tasman in Albany.

Tasman were reduced to 13 men in this drama-packed fixture with props Isaac Salmon and Samuel Matenga yellow carded inside the third quarter, but there’s no point anyone from the Mako trying to blame referee Nick Briant for making dud calls at QBE Stadium.

To bring that out as an excuse would be a cop-out.

Because Harbour were simply far too good; they got their game plan right, their defence was excellent and they were motivated to show Tasman and the rest of the competition whey they are far from a spent force following three earlier defeats.

The Tasman players should stand in front of a full-length mirror if they seek reasons for the result.

Poor discipline - they conceded around 20 penalties - a shaky scrum, an inability to match the Harbour forwards’ fire at the breakdown and uncharacteristic fumbles all contributed.

Yet it was Tasman who fired the first shot.

Wing Mark Talea impersonated a cheek kid stealing a salami out of the pantry in the 23rd minute when he intercepted a rocket pass by Gatland, sprinting almost 90m to score.

Tasman captain David Havili isn't going far as North Harbour nail him down during the Mitre 10 match in Albany.
HANNAH PETERS/GETTY IMAGES
Tasman captain David Havili isn't going far as North Harbour nail him down during the Mitre 10 match in Albany.

Gatland had the right idea by attempting to shift the nut at speed, but he didn’t bank on Talea’s immaculate timing as he left defenders coughing in his jet stream.

Talea’s elation lasted all of two minutes; it was his fumble from the kick-off that eventually led to Harbour striking back; they camped in Tasman’s 22m zone for several minutes before Jared Page scooted over in the corner.

Despite the wide angle, Gatland calmly converted the five-pointer and a penalty bang on halftime extended the lead to 16-10 as the teams raced into their respective dungeons.

Tasman co-coaches Andrew Goodman and Clark Dermody might have been tempted to pinch their noses as they looked at the rotten results on the stats sheet.

That won’t have changed by the time the fulltime bell clanged.

Tasman were fortunate not to have a player yellow carded for repeatedly being offside in that first spell, and they also only had 34 percent possession and 38 percent territory.

The opening minutes of the second spell were a nightmare for Tasman.

Andrew Makalio of Tasman charges forward during the Mitre 10 Cup match against North Harbour and Tasman in Albany.
HANNAH PETERS/GETTY IMAGES
Andrew Makalio of Tasman charges forward during the Mitre 10 Cup match against North Harbour and Tasman in Albany.

Salmon and Matenga were yellow carded as Harbour went on patrol, using their scrum to humiliate the Tasman pack inside the 22m.

Imagine the forwards’ dismay, then, when Harbour - up against 13 men, remember - elected to kick a penalty rather than exploit their superior numbers on attack.

But this tactic was right. The scoreboard kept ticking over and Tasman, even when halfback Finlay Christie poached a pass from Luteru Tolai, just never looked like getting back in the fight.

When Tasman returned to full strength they had the satisfaction of knowing they had weathered that storm, only conceding 3 points while scoring 5 thanks to Christie.

It was a try to hooker Tolai, off a driving maul, inside the final quarter that improved Harbour’s optimism of winning this.

And so it proved. Harbour rattled on a total of four tries. This was the result they deserved.

North Harbour 40 (Jared Page, Luteru Tolai, James Little, Teague McElroy tries; Bryn Gatland 4 con, 4 pen) defeated Tasman 24 (Mark Talea, Finlay Christie, David Havili tries; Mitch Hunt 3 con, pen), HT: 16-10.