Makos bounce back with bonus point win
The Tasman Makos rebounded from last week's Ranfurly Shield disappointment to score a spirited 27-3 bonus point win over the Manawatu Turbos at Palmerston North's rain-soaked FMG Stadium today.
It was Tasman's second ITM Cup rugby win of the season following their opening round success against Canterbury. And it didn't take long for Tasman to strike, stunning the home team with a perfectly-executed set piece try in just the second minute after fullback Robbie Malneek made excellent ground from a scrum deep inside their own half before inpassing to winger Peter Betham for an early 5-0 lead.
It took another 23 minutes for Tasman to increase their advnatage, second five-eighth Andrew Goodman ending a period of sustained Tasman attack with an easy penalty to go 8-0 ahead.
Despite some frustrating handling lapses and a late run of penalty concessions, Tasman performed admirably into a strong first half wind, their forwards working hard in contact and Betham adding impressive punch in his limited opportunities on attack.
Manawatu winger Craig Clare didn't help his team's cause, kicking just one of four first half penalty attempts with a useful wind at his back as Tasman took a slender 8-3 lead into the halftime break.
Tasman struck again directly after the restart, Malneek chasing down a superbly-judged grubber kick by his first five-eighth Hayden Cripps to extend their lead to 13-3.
Manawatu's forwards showed better control into the wind but apart from a late break by first five-eighth Tomasi Cama, their backs showed little penetration against a tight Tasman defence.
Tasman struggled to get their hands on the ball for long periods, but with just nine minutes remaining, a turnover eventually saw substitute winger James Lowe score after a sniping run and slick offload by his halfback Steve Alfeld to secure a 20-3 lead, which they held to the finish.
Substitute No 8 Jordan Taufua bagged Tasman's crucial fourth try just before the finish after barging across from a tap penalty.
Tasman 27 (Peter Betham, Robbie Malneek, James Lowe, Jordan Taufua tries, Andrew Goodman pen, 2 cons) Manawatu 3 (Craig Clare pen) Ht 8-3.
The Marlborough Express