Makos go close

The Tasman Makos' dream of winning the Ranfurly Shield for the first time in the union's history went west last night when they lost  40-49 to Taranaki in a thriller at Yarrow Stadium.

The Makos were expected to seriously challenge the holders and for periods they certainly did that but in the end Taranaki just had too much polish.

The challengers played with plenty of passion, coming back from 10-24 down midway through the first half to trail by just 30-32 at the end of a seven-try first half.

First-five Beuden Barrett proved the difference for Taranaki, the first-five scoring a late try and kicking 24 points for a match haul of 29.

Scorers: Taranaki 49 (Blade Thompson, Waisake Naholo, Kurt Baker 2, Beauden Barrett tries, Barrett 3 con, 6 pen); Tasman Makos 40 (Quentin MacDonald, James Lowe, Robbie Malneek, Tim Perry Campbell Johnstone tries, Andrew Goodman 3 con, 3 pen). Half-time Taranaki 32-30

The Marlborough Express