A 47-21 victory over Otago under the
roof of Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin this afternoon has sent the Tasman Mako
back to the top of the Mitre 10 Cup premiership rugby standings and ensured
them a place in the NPC semifinals.
BY PETER JONES [Marlborough App]
Tasman set up their seventh win of the
season with a superb first half display, scoring four tries, all converted by
the assured and influential Mitch Hunt, to lead 28-0 at the turnaround. With
their forward pack dominating at both set pieces and the breakdown, the Mako
were able to effectively shut the home side, and their supporters out of the
However, a rev-up from the Otago
coaching staff, who suggested the home side could either run up the white flag
or the Blue and Gold flag after the break, seemed to have paid dividends when
they fought back into the game almost immediately.
Their revival was short-lived though,
with Tasman staying in the fight. Although Otago narrowly won the second spell,
the Mako added three more tries, including a brace to flying fullback Will
Jordan who picked up a hat-trick, to keep the home side at arm’s length.
Mako head coach Leon MacDonald said he
was particularly happy with the first half display. "We played the way we
had trained and planned,” he said, "but the second half didn’t really go
to plan. It’s becoming a bit of a habit that we have to sort out.”
As they did against Wellington in their
previous game, the Mako tight five stood up and took control of their areas,
setting a solid platform for some potent attack.
"Our scrum and lineout was
outstanding tonight and our mauling was also good … plus some of our finishing
was much better than in recent weeks, which has been a work-on for us,"
"Some of our defensive work was
also outstanding, our line speed and breakdown intensity especially brought
He pinpointed the work of flanker Ethan Blackadder
and Jordan for special mention.
"Ethan has played every minute of the campaign and he’s trained every
training – then he goes out and plays like he does every week, he’s been a real
soldier for us this year and a top leader. Will [Jordan] was also particularly
Next Thursday the Mako play Hawke’s Bay
in Nelson to complete the round robin phase of the competition.
MacDonald said having another game so
soon would put pressure on their squad, "almost like a Storm Week”.
"It’s a quick turnaround so it’s
going to be about regrouping quickly … we don’t want to miss an opportunity for
a home semi so it is a really important game for us.
"We’ve just got to bottle up that
first half and hopefully see more of that from now on,” MacDonald added.
Tasman 47 (Mitch Hunt, David Havili,
Andrew Makalio, Will Jordan 3, Tima Faingaanuku tries, Hunt 6 con) Otago 21
(Matt Faddes, Sio Tompkinson, Slade McDowall tries, Tompkinson 3 con). HT 28-0.
Premiership standings after week eight: Tasman 38, Canterbury 37, Auckland
36, Wellington 29, North Harbour 29, Counties Manukau 16, Taranaki 13. NOTE:
Auckland have two more games to play, the other teams only one.