Makos' victory boosts confidence
The result was of little consequence and conditions were dreadful but the Tasman Makos would certainly have gained some confidence following their 29-5 win over a Canterbury XV at Takahanga Domain in Kaikoura on Friday.
The match was the culmination of a training camp last week in Kaikoura and, although playing in heavy rain and on a very muddy field, the players adapted well and the Makos, especially, produced a solid performance for a first-up, hit-out for the season.
The Canterbury selection wasn't anywhere near their best with no Crusaders there and many being trialled for ITM Cup selection.
The 2012 Makos version looks significantly better than last year. They have size and experience up front with youthful enthusiasm mixed in. The backs have a more physical presence about them, even without skipper Andrew Goodman who sat the game out.
Hooker Francis Smith had a standout match, playing the first half, his nose for the try-line produced two tries off the back of driving mauls. Quentin MacDonald carried on the good work in the second half, scoring a try.
Flanker Shane Christie did excellent work at the breakdown and in support.
The big middle row of Tevita Cavubati and Filipo Levi worked tirelessly and former All Black prop Campbell Johnstone has added a rod of steel to the scrum in tandem with the ever-improving Sam Prattley.
Halfback Jeremy Sua revelled in the conditions, making several sniping runs and serving his outsides crisply. Hayden Cripps looked assured at first-five and Waratahs winger Peter Betham, playing at centre, did everything asked of him.
New Zealand under 20 number eight Jordan Taufua showed promise and scored the opening try of the match off a strong Robbie Malneek kick return.
Makos coaches Kieran Keane and his assistant Leon MacDonald were pleased with the exercise, despite the conditions restricting their attacking options.
Keane said, "I thought there was some really good play all game because the conditions just never let up.
"We're really pleased with the recruits. They are fitting in really well. We are on our honeymoon at the moment. We've had a three day honeymoon in Kaikoura so it's been good and the recruits have fitted in so well, it's added a bit of confidence and a bit of steel.
"Any day you can go and towel up Canterbury, A, B or C, is a good day and I think we did it with a bit of style." The Makos ITM Cup build-up continues this week with training at their base in Nelson and a match against Otago in Dunedin on Sunday.
Scorers: Tasman Makos 29 (Francis Smith 2, Jordan Taufua, Tevita Cavubati, Quentin MacDonald tries, Cripps 2 con) Canterbury XV 5 (Andrew Olerenshaw try). half-time: Tasman Makos 24-0
- The Marlborough Express
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