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Manawatu has first win over Makos

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Sunday, October 3, 2010    Sportal.co.nz    Getty Images

The win enabled Manawatu to move off the bottom of the points table, leap-frogging both Otago and Tasman. That looked unlikely after a drab first half which ended with Tasman ahead, 8-3.

But a try inside the first minute of the second half triggered a Manawatu revival and classy All Blacks first five-eighth Aaron Cruden took his team to some safety with a brilliant individual try in the 53rd minute.

"It was good to have him back - he controlled us pretty well," said Manawatu captain Grant Polson. "We were disappointed with our first half, we weren't accurate and our passing and catching was poor, but it was good to get that early try after half-time."

Cruden missed a 30m penalty attempt from in front in the fifth minute and his rival first five-eighth James Marshall was also wide with his penalty kick from 42m after nine minutes.

Both teams were guilty of too many turnovers and loose passes in the first quarter and the conditions were not to blame as it was fine with little wind and a firm pitch. After 22 minutes Marshall had a second chance with a penalty kick from 38m out and in front and this time he made no mistake to open the scoring.

Cruden was given his second chance from 43m after 32 minutes and he split the posts to level the score, but he missed a third shot from 38m three minutes later. Tasman notched the first try after a 60m inter-passing exchange down the short-side by fullback Tom Marshall and halfback Kaide Whiting which Marshall finished off with no defender in sight. Brother James missed the wide conversion, but the visiting Makos went to the break ahead, 8-3.

Manawatu took the lead after 30 seconds of the second spell, the home team regaining its kick-off and Cruden making a penetrating run which lock Fraser Stone finished off after the ball had been recycled from a ruck near the line. Cruden kicked the simple conversion to have the Turbos ahead, 10-8.

Marshall missed a penalty chance to regain the lead for Tasman after 46 minutes and Manawatu made the most of that lapse, storming back onto attack and the class of Cruden was evident as he scythed through four tackles to score and convert after 53 minutes.

He was well short with a 50m penalty kick three minutes later but Tasman’s cause was not helped when prop Fai Mika was harshly sin-binned after 66 minutes after bodies collapsed at a ruck near Tasman’s line.

Manawatu was starting to make most of the play and wing Asaeli Tikoirotuma was denied a try only by an unfavourable bounce. Cruden extended the lead to 20-8 with an angled penalty after 71 minutes and three minutes later Manawatu had a player yellow carded for a similar offence.

Jack Umaga went close to scoring in the corner for Tasman after 75 minutes, but that was its last real chance as Manawatu controlled possession for the last five minutes and confined Tasman to its own half.

Scorers:

Manawatu 20 (Fraser Stone, Aaron Cruden tries; Cruden 2 con, 2 pen) Tasman 8 (Tom Marshall try; James Marshall pen). HT: 3-8