Makos too strong for Southland in Invercargill
Tasman have made a winning start to the NPC championship with a 25-15 win over Southland in Invercargill this evening.
A try in each half by Makos winger James Lowe proved the difference for the visitors who did well to overcome the loss of replacement first five Robbie Malneek in the first half.
They packed a strong scrum and had too many linebreakers in the backs for a Southland team which was guilty of falling off too many first up tackles.
Southland could look back to a 15 minute period after halftime where they got a nice roll on and managed to threaten Tasman's line, but they were unable to turn the advantage into a try and that proved costly when Lowe added his second try following a Kieron Fonotia break.
The Makos had by far the better of the first half, but only an eight-point lead at the break to show for it.
The significant frame of Tasman second five Andy Symons was prominent through the first 40 minutes, his ability to break the line causing all sorts of issues for the Southland defence.
The pace of Lowe was also showcased, with the left winger scoring a scorching try after 20 minutes following a Symons midfield break after Tasman had won clean lineout ball.
Southland's scrum was being put under pressure early on by Tongan international Sila Puafisi and it almost proved costly as the Makos hammered away at their tryline in the shadow of halftime.
After forcing a five-metre scrum, Tasman looked to have scored through halfback Mark Swanepoel, but the officials found a small knock on by George Stowers and Tasman eventually had to settle for a penalty.
It was small reward for the dominance the visitors had enjoyed.
Tasman had lost first five Hayden Cripps at their captain's run, with Malneek coming into the squad having been troubled by a hamstring injury.
Malneek couldn't see out the first half, going down with a recurrence of his hamstring problem and was replaced by former North Otago representative Billy Guyton.
After withstanding a fightback from the Stags which got the home team back within two points, Guyton again kicked Tasman out to an eight-point lead before Lowe's second try.
Southland's only points came through the accurate boot of Scott Eade, who landed all five of his attempts at goal.
Tasman 25 (James Lowe 2 tries; Andy Symons 2 pen, Billy Guyton 3 pen). Southland 15 (Scott Eade 5 pen). HT: 14-6
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