Canterbury shaky but too good for Tasman
Canterbury overcame a spirited home challenge to finally overrun the Tasman Makos 28-13 in their ITM Cup match in Blenheim today.
Canterbury produced a strong second half effort into the wind, including two tries, as they eventually began to wear Tasman down.
The match was played in Blenheim in recognition of the Marlborough sub-union's 125th anniversary and the 40th anniversary of their 13-6 Ranfurly Shield win over Canterbury in 1973.
A fourth-minute flare up among the forwards signalled early tension between the sides. However, Tasman showed their attacking instincts by running the ball strongly into a strong first half wind, their efforts rewarded with a 12th minute penalty to second five-eighth Andy Symons for a 3-0 lead.
Tasman increased their lead just minutes later when big winger James Lowe continued his try-scoring feats of the previous week by crossing in the corner after a strong run by flanker Shane Christie and an 8-0 advantage.
Canterbury thought they'd scored when centre Adam Whitelock crashed over out wide after outflanking Tasman's defence, but it was ruled out on review. A penalty to Tyler Bleyendaal offered some solace at 8-3.
Canterbury finally capitalised when Tasman turned over in a tackle, the ball worked crisply through the line for Whitelock to leave no doubt about the finishing and an eight-all score line.
Bleyendaal had the opportunity to put Canterbury ahead just before halftime but his penalty attempt hit the post as solid Tasman defence held them out until the break.
Tasman flanker Liam Squire was a major presence, leading several strong raids, while both teams produced some ferocious defence.
Canterbury opened the scoring after the restart when second five-eighth Ryan Crotty ended a series of phases following an earlier line break by prop Joe Moody, Bleyendaal delivering the final pass.
Bleyendaal's conversion extended their lead to 15-8, another penalty accentuating Canterbury's increasing momentum at 18-8.
Substitute halfback Kaide Whiting got Tasman back into the contest when he darted around a ruck to score his team's second try and reduce the margin to 18-13 before Bleyendaal's third penalty success again eased Canterbury ahead 21-13.
Bleyendaal signalled his increasing influence on the game when a clean break put Whitelock across for his second try to eventually shut Tasman out of the contest.
Tasman 13 (Kaide Whiting, James Lowe tries; Andrew Symons pen) Canterbury 28 (Adam Whitelock 2, Ryan Crotty tries; Tyler Bleyendaal 2 con, 2 pen) HT: 8-8.