Taufua's recall stuns Makos
The Tasman Makos' ITM Cup championship rugby semifinal preparations have taken an unexpected body blow after their star No 8, Jordan Taufua, was recalled by Canterbury this week.
On loan to Tasman from the Canterbury union for this year's ITM Cup campaign, Taufua has been recalled after two of Canterbury's loose forwards, Matt Todd and Nasi Manu, suffered injuries.
It means Tasman will now face semifinal opponent Otago at Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday without New Zealand under-20 representative Taufua. He had played in all 10 of Tasman's round-robin matches this season.
Tasman rugby boss Andrew Flexman said that under the terms of the loan agreement, the Tasman union's hands were tied and Canterbury were entitled to recall Taufua.
Canterbury will meet Taranaki in their premiership semifinal on Saturday.
"The frustration is obviously fairly pronounced when we've got as big a game as we have on Friday and the timing in terms of the activation of the [loan agreement] clause," said Flexman.
"It just seems regrettable that they'd do it at this time of the season."
Tasman coach Kieran Keane said he was "extremely disappointed" and completely blindsided by the decision.
"I never saw it coming," he said, while also acknowledging that Canterbury were within their rights to recall Taufua.
Tasman assistant coach, Leon MacDonald, a former team-mate of Canterbury coach Tabai Matson, apparently contacted Matson in a bid to try to get Matson to change his mind, but he was unsuccessful.
The Tasman Makos fly out of Nelson Airport at 3.35pm tomorrow for Dunedin.
People wanting to show their support are asked to farewell them at the airport from 2.30pm to 2.45pm and wish them well for their battle against Otago.
- © Fairfax NZ News