Tasman held off a determined Canterbury fightback for an historic national provincial championship rugby win at Nelson today.
Tasman prevailed 27-25 at Trafalgar Park after earlier leading 24-7 to post their first win over the two-time defending champions in five meetings.
Three first-half tries saw Tasman skip clear before Canterbury awoke early in the second half when midfield back Robbie Fruean was sinbinned for a ruck infringement.
His temporary absence appeared to concentrate their minds as they struck back during his time on the sideline with tries to halfback Andy Ellis and hooker Steve Fualau before first five-eighth Colin Slade landed a long range penalty to drag his side to within two points with 12 minutes remaining.
But Tasman were staunchly determined not to waste their earlier good work and held on under pressure to secure their second win in four outings this season.
There was little to admire from a sloppy Canterbury as they fell 10-27 behind eight minutes into the second spell.
But they hit back with two quick tries, the first to Ellis, who started off the reserves bench before being introduced for the second half.
It was sparked by first five-eighth Colin Slade's decision to change the direction of attack and he linked with hugely impressive fullback Sean Maitland, who surged through in midfield before drawing the last defender to present Ellis with a stroll to the line.
Canterbury continued to lift their intensity, stretching Tasman on the left flank before a gap was created on the right for Fualau to charge over the line in the 57th minute and all of a sudden they were back in the contest.
Slade then landed a long range penalty in the 68th minute to trim the difference to two points before Tasman stemmed the bleeding, kept their mistakes to a minimum and denied Canterbury any more penalty opportunities.
Tasman were easily the better team in the first half when they led 24-10 after tries to second five-eighth Tom Marshall, wing James Kamana and hooker Francis Smith responded to the sole Canterbury effort from Telusa Veainu in the seventh minute.
Marshall's came almost immediately after Veainu opening the day's scoring, off a short ball from his brother and first five-eighth James Marshall, before Kamana picked up a loose pass from Stephen Brett to scamper 40m.
Smith's effort from close range stretched Tasman's advantage to 24-7 but Slade reduced the deficit with a penalty immediately before the interval.
Tasman 27 (Tom Marshall, James Kamana, Francis Smith tries; Steve Alfeld 2 pen, 3 con) Canterbury 25 (Telusa Veainu, Andy Ellis, Steve Fualau tries; Colin Slade 2 pen, 2 con). Halftime: 24-10
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