Tasman below par but still good enough

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Facing two games in five days, Tasman left many of their best players on the bench, but when they were introduced they were able to make game-changing benefits for the side. 

No sooner had fullback Will Jordan joined the game in the 47th minute than David Havili, who had moved into second five-eighths to accommodate Jordan, charged into the defence to create momentum.

Tasman built on that and when No.8 Taina Matamua-Fox carried the play forward by controlling the ball behind his back, he lobbed a pass outside and Jordan cantered over for the try.

It was the same when Tim O'Malley was replaced by Mitchell Hunt at first five-eighths. Coinciding with a drop in Manawatu discipline with three consecutive penalties conceded, and the loss of skipper Antonio Kiri Kiri to the sin-bin, Tasman worked their the length of the field before a lineout maul yielded the ball with Hunt able to step back inside and then straighten to score under the posts.

Manawatu were not to be outdone. First five-eighths replacement Otere Black got in on the act when making a tidy break which almost saw centre Hamish Northcott get through, only failing when the slightest of ankle taps cut tripped him up.

And if replacement lock Pari Pari Parkinson added some ginger for Tasman, Jackson Hemopo made a significant contribution his 30 minutes of play.

But scrum penalties conceded by Tasman saw Manawatu's replacement halfback Kayne Hammington take a quick tap which revved up his pack as they tore into mauls on the goalline and as they looked to get their backs into the action a long pass from Hammington found wing Michael Tagicakibau for the try.

While they had communication issues, especially at the lineout, there were times when they got things right.

The first was when Tasman right wing Jamie Spowart unleashed a burst of individualism when breaking from his blindside wing to take the ball from a scrum at first receiver. Sixty-five metres out he cut back towards the sideline and then cleared out from the defence on a pacy run to the goalline to score.

Manawatu came back with their own skilful play which saw flanker Antonio Kiri Kiri combine with wing Te Rangiria Waitokia initially, before he found first five-eighths Sam Malcolm on his inside to split Tasman's defence to reply.

Another occasion for Tasman occurred when they were able to tie up the Manawatu pack in a rolling maul from well out before the ball was released for big centre Levi Aumua to rumble over.

But Tasman then failed to secure the restart and Tagicakibau was able to run onto the ball at speed and carry play to just short of the goalline.

There wasn't an immediate reward but by applying themselves through 13 phases they created a chance just on halftime when prop Michael Alaalatoa ran off the back and managed to telescope his arm toward the line to brush the chalk to score.

Duane Monkley Medal points:

3: Finlay Christie
2: Michael Alaalatoa
1: Quinten Strange

Scorers: Manawatu 19 (Sam Malcolm, Michael Alaalatoa, Michael Tagicikibau tries; Malcolm con; Otere Black con) Tasman 29 (Jamie Spowart, Levi Aumua, Will Jordan, Mitchell Hunt tries; Tim O'Malley 2 con; Hunt con, pen). HT: 12-14