Having fun gets job done for Makos
Shane Christie says he and his Tasman team-mates are simply having a lot of fun at the moment.
The Tasman Makos have been the revelation of the 2014 national provincial championship season not just through the results which seen them top the championship division standings but with the way they have won eight of their 10 games.
The 2014 provincial season has seen the TMO feature a lot, scrum resets become the norm and some indifferent ball skills all having a role in the stop-start nature of many games this season.
But among all that is a Tasman team who have oozed excitement in the way they have played the game and have won over many supporters because of it.
They have scored an average of 33 points per game, the best out of all 14 teams, and conceded just 18.6 per game, the third best defensive record behind Wellington and Canterbury.
Tasman captain Christie said it is just as fun to be a part of as it is to watch.
"It's awesome playing that type of rugby, mate. It's exciting and when our defence goes well we seem to attack a lot better as well. It's combining well and working for us so far."
"The boys in the team love playing that style and I guess we're training well and executing what our game plan is, it just happens on the field that way."
Next up for Tasman is Southland in a championship semifinal on Saturday in Blenheim.
Lose that game and the impressive reputation they have developed will fly quickly out the door.
Christie said the mind-set this week had centred around the semi-final being just another game.
"We've just prepared like it's another game, the occasion will take care of itself. It is a pretty special time for us, we've sort of been the battlers in the last couple of years. It's exciting times and we're ready to rumble really. It's going to be a good match and I think Southland will bring that same intensity."
On a personal note Saturday will be an important one for Christie as he tries to make another statement to Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph that he's ready for regular game time in the 2015 Super Rugby competition.
Christie was at the Crusaders this year but said with the loose forward stocks overflowing there - with Richie McCaw and Matt Todd expected to share the No 7 jersey duties next year - a move to the Highlanders was an easy decision to make.
Christie has spent time under Joseph's tutelage in the New Zealand Maori setup and was hoping to get regular game time with the Dunedin-based franchise.
On Saturday he will come head-to-head with Southland's John Hardie who is another leading Highlanders loose forward candidate and one of Highlanders standouts this season.
The two will be viewed as the frontrunners to wear the No 7 jersey next season although Joseph may look at playing both of them on each flank at times throughout the Super Rugby competition.
First though there is a certain provincial championship competition to get sorted.
- © Fairfax NZ News