Auckland hand Makos first loss

Date published: September 20 2015

Auckland stunned ITM Cup leaders Tasman 28-19 in Blenheim to close the gap at the top of the table and all but seal a play-off spot.

The Makos had won all six of their previous games, with a bonus point, but on this occasion they had no answer to Auckland, who ran in three tries conceding just one.

After Simon Hickey's early penalty, Joe Edwards pounced on a loose ball at a ruck midway through the half and sprinted away to score.

Marty Banks responded with a couple of penalties, either side of Hickey's second, but on the stroke of half-time Auckland had a second try This time Georga Moala was the man to cross, with Auckland taking advantage of the sin-binning of Trent Renata for the hosts.

Hickey's conversion made it 20-6 at the break, and after a third Banks penalty, Vince Aso grabbed Auckland's third try when he was quickest to a grubber kick.

Auckland then lost Jono Hickey to a yellow card and Tasman made the most of it, with Joe Wheeler crossing ten minutes into the half.

Banks converted and added a penalty with 17 minutes left as Tasman pushed for an unlikely comeback.

However Mitch Hunt put Auckland back beyond a converted try with a penalty four minutes later and the visitors held on to move to within three points of Tasman, and one of Canterbury.

The scorers:

For Tasman:
Con: Banks
Pens: Banks 4
Yellow Card: Renata

For Auckland:
Edwards, Moala, Aso
Cons: S Hickey 2
Pens: S Hickey 2, Hunt
Yellow Card: J Hickey

The teams:

Tasman: 15 David Havili, 14 Viliami Lolohea, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Trael Joass, 11 Mitchell Scott, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Billy Guyton, 8 Liam Squire, 7 Shane Christie, 6 Pete Samu, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Siua Halanukonuka, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Tim Perry 
Replacements: 16 Jesse MacDonald, 17 Ross Geldenhuys, 18 Jake Stafford-Wood, 19 Marco Kotze, 20 Vernon Fredericks, 21 Jimmy Cowan, 22 Trent Renata, 23 Kade Poki

Auckland: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Vince Aso, 12 George Moala, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Jono Hickey, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Mitch Karpik, 6 Joe Edwards, 5 William Lloyd, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 1 Sam Prattley
Replacements: 16 Kurt Eklund, 17 Tom McHugh, 18 Jono Owen, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Blake Gibson, 21 Kaito Shigeno, 22 Mitch Hunt, 23 Rieko Ioane

Referee: Jamie Nutbrown