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Canterbury survive Tasman comeback

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Friday, August 5, 2011    Sportal.co.nz    Getty Images

Canterbury's superior finishing skills out wide was the difference with all five tries going to wings, Telusa Veainu and Patrick Osborne, but Tasman had the better of the forward exchanges and also bagged five tries. With better goal-kicking Tasman could easily have beaten the defending champion for four shots were missed including a penalty from right in front.

Premiership team Canterbury will be happy to leave with maximum points, but will be unhappy about conceding two late tries which had a 36-15 lead after 66 minutes narrowed to 36-32. It will also be worried about the many penalties it conceded.

After an unsettling start where both teams turned over possession far too readily, Canterbury had the first try in the fourth minute when a wide pass by centre Robbie Fruean put fullback Sean Maitland into a gap and he set up wing Patrick Osborne for an easy try which Tyler Bleyendaal converted from wide out.

Tasman, however, came back strongly, lock Joe Wheeler breaking the line and setting up an attacking scrum which led to first five-eighths James Marshall crossing the line only to lose the ball in the tackle of veteran Reuben Thorne after 15 minutes.

Terrific defence on its line by Canterbury kept Tasman try-less despite the home team having all the ball and territory leading into the second quarter. Tasman finally got something to show for its dominance when Andrew Goodman kicked a penalty goal after 23 minutes.

Getting back into Tasman's territory from the restart served Canterbury well, wing Telusa Veainu doing superbly well to beat two defenders close to touch and score after Canterbury claimed a Tasman lineout throw. Bleyendaal, from the sideline, had his conversion wick off the upright to give his team a 14-3 lead.

Goodman missed a 'sitter' penalty from 22m in front on the half hour and paid the penalty when Bleyendaal placed a clever cross-kick to Osborne's wing and the Fijian wing ran around a poor tackle attempt by Tasman fullback Tom Marshall. Bleyendaal missed the sideline conversion.

Goodman cut the Canterbury defence open after 35 minutes only for Bright to drop the ball with the line beckoning and Canterbury was happy to go to the break ahead 19-3 after having little ball and territory.

Tasman needed only three minutes to score its first try after the restart with Wheeler and James Marshall making little probes before sending Goodman over in the corner. He was unable to convert.

Veainu hurt Tasman minutes later when he intercepted a big Tasman pass near the Canterbury line and ran 80m to score under the bar for the bonus-point try. Replacement Tom Taylor kicked the easy conversion.

Veainu had his third try after 55 minutes, halfback Mark Swanepoel darting through a gap and the recycled ball going through Thorne and George Whitelock's hands before Veainu had an easy run to the corner, Taylor kicking a fine conversion.

On the hour replacement flanker Tevita Kolomatangi scored Tasman's second try after a concerted build-up with Goodman kicking the conversion. Taylor was astray with a 45m penalty attempt after 63 minutes but made no mistake with a 40m kick from in front three minutes later to make it 36-15.

Tasman had its turn for an intercept try from the restart, fullback Marshall grabbing a ball 80m out and stretching out to score in Osborne's tackle. He converted his try. Bright got Tasman a bonus-point try after 74 minutes when the ball was toed almost the length of the field, but Goodman missed the wide conversion to leave the deficit at nine points.

In the last minute Tasman drove across the line but the ball was held up. From the 5m scrum, though, Bright crashed over and planted the ball over the line to ensure Tasman had a second bonus point. Goodman missed the conversion to leave Canterbury a four-point winner.

Scorers:

Tasman 32 (Mark Bright 2, Andrew Goodman, Tevita Kolomatangi, Tom Marshall tries; Goodman con, pen; Tom Marshall) Canterbury 36 (Telusa Veainu 3, Patrick Osborne 2 tries; Tyler Bleyendaal 2 con; Tom Taylor 2 con, pen). HT: 3-19