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2019 Mitre 10 Cup

David Havili
Co-Head Coaches:
Andrew Goodman, Clarke Dermody
Asst. Coaches:
Shane Christie, Gray Cornelius
Martyn Vercoe

After just 14 seasons, the Tasman Mako have reached the pinnacle of New Zealand provincial rugby.

The Premiership final victory must rank as the finest day for rugby at the top of the South Island since Marlborough stunned the nation with the 1973 Ranfurly Shield upset of Canterbury.

The Mako had been knocking at the door since their 2013 Championship victory and had contested three Premiership finals before 2019. In 2011 they were last in the Championship, and thus ranked 14th of the top tier unions.

The manner in which they went 10–0 through the regular season and then ground out their playoff victories showed a team that was adaptable to all conditions and opponents to produce the first unbeaten season since Auckland in 2007.

In scoring 62 tries, 17 more than in 2018, the Mako could hurt you in several ways, be it a kick-pass from Mitch Hunt, a lineout drive or a slick backline move. But it was the parsimonious defence, organised by assistant coach Shane Christie, that was most telling. Conceding just 14 tries in 12 games, with an average winning score of 37–11, told of a tight group that played for each other and trusted the systems.

Tasman sounded an early warning to the competition with a 45–8 demolition of Wellington, and thereafter, barring the tight wins over North Harbour and Waikato, was untroubled, scoring tryscoring bonus points in all bar two games. Especially impressive was the 23–8 defeat to Canterbury in Christchurch, and the shutouts of Counties Manukau and Auckland.

The latter bounced back with a committed display in the semifinal, but the Mako, superbly led by David Havili, scored the points when they mattered.

In the final, they were always one step ahead of a competitive Wellington but relied on a Will Jordan double and Mitch Hunt’s accuracy off the tee to seal the triumph.

Pre-season gains included Atu Moli coming home from Waikato, though his All Blacks duties meant he appeared just once, and Australian hooker Hugh Roach, who offered immense value off the bench, and four tries. Joe Wheeler was back from Japan, but was injured, as was Kane Hames, who found a home in the TV commentary box.

Losses included Alex Ainley (Bay of Plenty), Solomon Alaimalo (Waikato), Jed Brown (Japan) and Ray Niuia (Samoa RWC).

Havili was used almost exclusively at fullback, shifting back from the midfield, and continued his Crusaders’ form with dangerous counter-attacking and astute decision-making.

Will Jordan was pushed to the right wing and scored seven tries, while Leicester Faingaanuku equalled that on the other wing. A player of the ilk of Jamie Spowart, who scored four tries, hardly got a look in.
Centre Fetuli Paea was promoted after being the Tasman club player of the year with Waitohi. His impact off the bench was telling, especially in the playoffs, and he won a Super Rugby contract. Alex Nankivell was an under-rated second five, always straightening the attack and breaking the line in time of need.

Hunt played consistently well in the No 10 jersey and scored 102 points, while his halfback Finlay Christie gave him slick service and ran incisively.

The Mako enjoyed enviable depth in the loose trio. Liam Squire was at his bruising best in either the No 8 or No 6 jersey, while Jordan Taufua, who opted not to play for Manu Samoa at Rugby World Cup, signed off his Tasman days with a typically all-action campaign.

Sione Havili offered a good foil on the openside flank, as did indefatigable Ethan Blackadder on the blind. It was noticeable that, after he left injured during the semifinal, the pack was not as dominant.

Shannon Frizell was used mostly at lock before his RWC call-up. The Quinten Strange-Paripari Parkinson combination continues to grow.
The Mako used seven props, all of whom added to the solid scrum. Tyrel Lomax was again to the fore on the tighthead side. Wyatt Crockett’s long career ended in glory.

Andrew Makalio again played a prominent role and was one of the best hookers in the Mitre 10 Cup

Higher honours went to:

New Zealand: Shannon Frizell, Atunaisa Moli.
New Zealand Maori: Tyrel Lomax, Alex Nankivell, Pari Pari Parkinson
New Zealand Under 20: Leicester Fainga’anuku.
New Zealand Sevens: Tone Ng Shiu.

(Source - 2020 Rugby Almanack)

Team Awards went to:

Defender of the Year – Ethan Blackadder
Rookie of the Year – Fetuli Paea
Player of the Year – Jordan Taufua
Mako Man of the Year – David Havili

Tasman Makos 2019 NPC draw.

  Home GameTickets
1 Wellington Blenheim Sat 10 Aug, 2.05pm
W 45 - 8
2 Canterbury    Christchurch Sun 18 Aug, 2.05pm W 23 - 8
3 Manawatu Blenheim Sat 24 Aug, 2.35pm W 64 - 3
4 Taranaki New Plymouth Sun 1 Sep, 4.35pm W 28 -18
5 Counties Manukau
Pukekohe Fri 6 Sep, 7.45pm W 36 - 0
6 North Harbour Nelson Sun 15 Sep, 4:35pm W 21 - 17
7 Waikato
Hamilton Sat 21 Sep, 2.35pm W 35 - 26
8 Auckland
Nelson Fri 27 Sep, 7.35pm W 40 - 0
9 Northland
Nelson Sun 6 Oct, 2.05pm W 52 - 6
10 Hawke's Bay 
Napier Sat 12 Oct, 2.35pm W 47 - 28
11 Semi - Auckland  Blenheim Sat 19 Oct, 2.05pm W 18 - 9
12 Final - Wellington     Nelson Sat 26 Oct, 6.05pm W 31 - 14

Played 12 I Won 12 I Lost 0 I Drew 0 I Points for 440 I Points Against 137

Game 1 [W] – Sat 10 Aug, 2.05pm—v Wellington — Blenheim

Tasman 45 (Leicester Fainga’anuku 2, Liam Squire, Andrew Makalio, Tyrel Lomax, David Havili, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta tries; Mitch Hunt 5 con) v Wellington 8 (). HT: 26-3

Game 2 [W] – Sat 18 Aug, 2.05pm—v Canterbury — Christchurch

Canterbury 8 () v Tasman 23 (Levi Aumua, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Andrew Makalio tries; Mitch Hunt con, 2 pen). HT 3-18

Game 3 [W] – Sat 24 Aug, 2.35pm—v Manawatu — Blenheim

Tasman 64 (Jamie Spowart 3, Liam Squire, Hugh Roach, Jordan Taufua, Finlay Christie, Jacob Norris, Will Jordan, Ethan Blackadder tries; Mitchell Hunt 4 con, Tim O’Malley 3 con) v Manawatu 3 (). HT: 33-3

Game 4 [W] – Sun 1 Sep, 4.35pm – v Taranaki – New Plymouth

Taranaki 18 () v Tasman 28 (Tima Fainga’anuku 2, Andrew Makalio, Finlay Christie tries, Mitch Hunt con, 2 pen). HT: 6-18

Game 5 [W] - Fri 6 Sep, 7.45pm—v Counties-Manukau — Pukekohe

Counties-Manukau 0 v Tasman 36 (Will Jordan 2, Levi Aumua, Samiuela Moli, Leicester Fainga’anuku tries, Mitch Hunt 3 con, pen, Tim O’Malley con) v. HT: 0-24

Game 6 [W] – Sun 15 Sep, 4.35pm—v North Harbour — Nelson

Tasman 21 (Finlay Christie, Sione Havili tries, Tim O’Malley 2 con, penalty try/con) v North Harbour 17 (). HT: 7-17

Game 7 [W] – Sat 21 Sep, 2.35pm—v Waikato — Hamilton

Waikato 26 () v Tasman 35 (Hugh Roach, David Havili, Ethan Blackadder, Wyatt Crocket tries; Tim O’Malley con, pen, David Havili 2 con, 2 pen). HT: 23-15

Game 8 [W] – Fri 27 Sep, 7.35pm—v Auckland — Nelson

Tasman Mako 40 (Ethan Blackadder 2, Andrew Makalio, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Finlay Christie, Hugh Roach tries, Mitch Hunt 5 con), Auckland 0. HT: 19-0

Game 9 [W] - Sun 6 Oct, 2.05pm – v Northland - Nelson

Tasman 52 (Will Jordan 2, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Sione Havili, Jamie Spowart, Wyatt Crockett, Tim O’Malley, Taina Fox-Matamua tries, Hunt 6 con) v Northland 6 (). HT 19-6.

Game 10 [W] – Sat 12 Oct, 2.35pm—v Hawke’s Bay — Napier

Hawke's Bay 28 () v Tasman 47 (Leicester Fainga’anuku 2, Sione Havili, Tima Fainga’anuku, Mitch Hunt, Alex Nankivell, Hugh Roach tries; Mitch Hunt 4 con, David Havili 2 con). HT: 14-19

Game 11 – [W] Sat 19 Oct, 2.05pm – Semi Final – v Auckland - Blenheim

Tasman 18 (Quinten Strange, Alex Nankivell tries, Mitch Hunt con, 2 pen) v Auckland 9 (). HT: 6-3.

Game 12 – [W] Sat 26 Oct, 6.05pm –Final – v Wellington - Nelson

Tasman 31 (Will Jordan 2, David Havili tries, Mitch Hunt 2 con, 4 pen) v Wellington 14 (). HT: 23-14.


Name Tries Con Pen Total
Mitch Hunt 1 32 11 102
Will Jordan 7 0 0 35
Leicester Faingaanuku 7 0 0 35
David Havili 3 4 2 29
Tim O'Malley 1 7 1 22
Finlay Christie 4 0 0 20
Andrew Makalio 4 0 0 20
Ethan Blackadder 4 0 0 20
Jamie Spowart 4 0 0 20

The History

2019 Farah Palmer Cup

Tasman won two games and are gradually gaining experience in the Farah Palmer Cup competition. Again, the team was led by Jessica Foster-Lawrence and again she was the outstanding forward. Leah Miles, aged 17, is a highly promising flanker

2020 Farah Palmer Cup

The change in competition format to north-south pools meant further issues for Mako, a union still in its infancy in establishing a competitive Farah Palmer Cup squad. This resulted in heavy losses to the well-established teams.

2020 Mitre 10 Cup

The Tasman Mako recorded back-to-back Premiership triumphs — the first province, other than Canterbury, to repeat since Auckland in 2002–03.

2018 Mitre 10 Cup

After finishing the round robin in second place, with their best ever record of nine wins and just one defeat, Tasman’s season ended with a disappointing home defeat to Canterbury in the Premiership semi-final

2018 Farah Palmer Cup

The 65-12 win over Taranaki in the first game was to be the only cause for celebration in 2018, the Mako being well beaten in the other five games. The union lost Rosie Buchanan-Brown to Otago but gained former Manawatu representatives Crystal Mayes and Hayley Hutana

2017 Mitre 10 Cup

For the third time in the last four years, Tasman went all the way to the Premiership Final to indicate a successful season, but it was one of mixed effort.

2017 Farah Palmer Cup

Tasman was a welcome addition to a steadily expanding competition. The debutants produced a very encouraging result in the opening game, against Waikato, then took a hammering from Otago in the second round. The win in the final game, against Hawke’s Bay, would have installed confidence in the team

2016 Mitre 10 Cup

For the second time in three years the Tasman Makos went all the way to the Premiership Final, losing to Canterbury in a gallant effort. There were two defeats in the opening four matches, but after that the side hit form, remaining unbeaten until the Final.

2015 ITM Cup

Hopes of going 1 better than "Cup runners-up" were high. Things started well with 6 wins, but this was followed up by 3 defeats - the last round win over the Naki meant a semi-finals trip to Auckland & they were the "in form" team. All up another good year for the MIGHTY Makos.

2014 ITM CUP

Your Mighty Makos have had a stellar first season in the ITM Cup Premiership. We are proud to host a Semi-Final in our first year playing the Big City Unions. Make home ground advantage count tonight .. let’s have LOTS OF NOISE in support of your MIGHTY TASMAN MAKOS!

2013 ITM CUP

Culminating with winning the ITM Cup Championship Final, 2013 was the most remarkable season in the Tasman Makos eight years since inception. Team and personal bests have been broken at every turn.

2011 ITM CUP

Two wins might seem poor return for the season – but it depends on you point of view. Those two wins were against the eventual Championship winner Hawke’s Bay and Auckland. No other team scored as many as the five tries that Tasman did against eventual Premiership winner Canterbury.

2012 ITM CUP

Beginning the season with a victory over their Crusaders stable mate Canterbury, recording one of the highest scores in an unsuccessful Ranfurly Shield challenge, then another couple of quick wins and here was the making of a good season.

2010 ITM CUP

Until the last game of the season Tasman had provided staunch competition to all opponents. Gone to greener pastures were some of last year’s better performers including captain Andrew Goodman.


Six victories from the first ten matches was a promising start, but results fell away over the last three matches of the competition. Sadly there was always the suspicion that no matter how well Tasman played there was always the threat of relegation at season’s end.


The on field performance of Tasman were in contrast to the off field turbulence surrounding them. The characteristics Todd Blackadder showed as a player and captain – that of calm controlled management – were evident in his performance as Tasman’s coach.


That Tasman scored less and conceded more in the latter part of the season was not an indication of lack of progress but rather it was how the draw had treated them. Name players had come and gone, but in truth the strength of Tasman was in its local players.


Tasman Union was formed from the amalgation of Nelson Bays and Malborough unions with the specific intention of meeting the criteria for the new premier division of New Zealand rugby.