Taranaki responds in style

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Friday, August 6, 2010    Getty Images

Taranaki scored five tries to one and was in control for most of the match in which its more clinical execution emphasised the slopping handling and passing of Tasman.

Halfback Tyson Keats, wing David Smith and fullback Kurt Baker were full of running in the Taranaki backline while captain and lock Craig Clarke and loose forwards Jarrad Hoeata and Ben Souness were solid workers in the pack.

Tasman tried hard but was beset by errors. Jonathan Poff, Chris Jack and Glen Gregory were prominent in the forwards and Tom Marshall and Robbie Malneek were dangerous runners in the backs.

Taranaki had won four of its previous five games against Tasman but it had been stung after losing 19-26 to Northland at home in round one last week. Tasman battled bravely in the wet in Wellington before losing 11-20.

Tasman took the early lead with two long-range penalty goals by Alfeld, the first from halfway.

But on almost its first foray into enemy territory, Taranaki fullback Kurt Baker found space when he ran on to a short pass from Jayden Hayward and scored by the posts. Ripia converted to make it 7-6.

Taranaki extended its lead to 14-6 after 24 minutes when Ripia hoisted high, James Marshall dropped the ball and Keats toed it ahead for 40 metres and gathered to score by the posts.

Four minutes later Taranaki scored its third try when flanker Jarrad Hoeata crashed over after the forwards drove down the blindside from a lineout.

Possession and territory had been evenly contested but Taranaki had made much better use of its chances, particularly after it overcame a jittery opening 10 minutes.

Tasman began the second spell urgently with a lovely break by Tom Marshall but Taranaki countered with a fluent backline move, right wing Andre Taylor in as the extra man and setting up his left wing, David Smith, for the bonus point try, to make it 26-6.

Tasman needed to strike back quickly but it was let down by basic handling and passing errors with the slippery ball.

Tom Marshall broke again and chipped ahead but Kade Poki was unable to re-gather and slide over with the try-line within reach.

Taranaki was reduced to 14 men 13 minutes from the end when former All Black Scot Waldrom, returning from injury, was sin-binned for a professional foul.

Tasman finally scored its first try 10 minutes from the end when, from a short lineout, replacement hooker Vernon Fredericks burst down the blind side and crashed over in the corner to reduce the deficit to 11-26.

Scores were:

Taranaki 33 (Kurt Baker, Tyson Keats, Jarrad Hoeata, David Smith, George Pisi tries; Willie Ripia 3 con, Beauden Barrett con) Tasman 11 (Vernon Fredericks try: Steve Alfeld 2 pen). HT: Taranaki 21-6