Taranaki deal to hamstrung Tasman

Getty Images

Thursday, September 28, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

The effectiveness of the home pack with hooker Ricky Riccitelli and props Mitchell Graham and Angus Ta'avao setting a good platform allowed flanker Lachlan Boshier to make good in the loose as Tasman were forced to try and cover for wing Viliami Lolohea.
He was expelled after two yellow cards conceded in the first 24 minutes when he was guilty of copy cat offences when rival Seta Tamanivalu was attempting to secure the ball in the air. The second was an automatic red card but more importantly, from both penalties, Taranaki were able to score tries.

That saw Taranaki first five-eighths Stephen Perofeta provide a calculated demonstration of his class which tested Tasman throughout.

From the first Lolohea dismissal, in the fourth minute, off a lineout penalty move, Perofeta opened a gap in the line and fed centre Sean Wainui in for the try.

Tasman had made the most of a penalty opportunity in Taranaki territory to score their own try to hooker Andrew Makalio off a lineout maul.

In the 17th minute, after a solid period of attack by the Taranaki forwards, Perofeta again took a gap and this time it was second five-eighths Johnny Fa'auli who crossed after a reverse pass from Perofeta.

After Lolohea's 24th minute dismissal Taranaki mounted another series of driving mauls, firstly off lineouts, but it was from a five-metre scrum that another chance came after the ball was moved across field where flanker Lachlan Boshier picked to drive over.

Good ball for Wainui in the 32nd minute allowed him to make a scything break to open up Taranaki's defence and while the result wasn't immediate, Taranaki kept recycling the ball and eventually it was flanker Pita Sowakula who scored.

Tasman came back after the half-time hooter when a try to wing James Lowe was disallowed due to an earlier knock-on but as they were under advantage they had a second chance and eventually, after three minutes, they scored through second five-eighths Alex Nankiville.

Two minutes into the second half home fullback Marty McKenzie failed to find touch from a penalty, but Lowe speculated the ball ahead and it was kicked back to Taranaki and from the ruck, Perofeta held up the ball momentarily before finding No.8 Toa Halafihi and he charged into the gap created and his speed denied the cover defence any reward to take the score to 33-12.

Tasman scored a third try when a penalty provided a chance to mount their own attack and skipper and lock Alex Ainley scored, but moments later they were reduced to 13 when fullback Will Jordan was sin-binned having been ruled to have deliberately knocked the ball down during a Taranaki attack.

The reduced backline numbers had its effect from a scrum move between Halafahi and lively halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi which resulted in a pass being flung at speed to Fa'auli who took the gap and then fed Wainui over for his second try.

Tasman utilised their bench for the last quarter and when Ti'i Paulo slipped a close pass to Robbie Malneek he made good ground to link with Jordan who took the ball forward. And from the ruck it was first five-eighths Mitchell Hunt who scored beneath the posts to secure a four-try bonus point for Tasman.

Taranaki looked to finish with a flourish with Wainui and McKenzie combined to set up a ruck chance which saw substitute hooker Donald Maka nearly present Sowakula with a final try, the flanker losing the ball over the goal-line as he dived.

Scorers: Taranaki 40 (Sean Wainui 2, Johnny Fa'auli, Lachlan Boshier, Pita Sowakula, Toa Halafihi tries; Marty McKenzie 5 con) Tasman 26 (Andrew Makalio, Alex Nankiville, Alex Ainley, Mitchell Hunt tries; Billy Guyton 2 con; Timothy O'Malley con. HT: 28-12