Tasman got their ITM Cup campaign off the mark thanks to a 21-7 victory over Hawke's Bay, but didn't have enough to claim a four-try bonus point.
Tasman got their ITM Cup campaign off the mark thanks to a 21-7 victory over Hawke's Bay on Thursday, but didn't quite have enough to claim a four-try bonus point.
The Round Three result at Lansdowne Park in Blenheim means the Magpies remain winless in this year's tournament, whilst Tasman will feel relieved to have secured their first victory.
The teams headed into the half-time sheds level at 7-7, but Tasman made the most of their chances after the break, while basic handling and ball retention errors meant Hawke's Bay struggled to threaten.
The visitors suffered a major blow before kick-off after influential flanker Karl Lowe pulled out at late notice with a hamstring injury. And although Hawke's Bay dominated early possession and territory, it was the home team who got over the chalkdust first.
After turning down two possible shots at goal, the Magpies were made to pay the price as Tasman got a try against the run of play.
Fly-half James Marshall intercepted a Kahn Fotuali'i pass and ran 80m to dive over at the other end despite a desperate last-ditch tackle from Zac Guildford. Tasman scrum-half Steve Alfeld slotted the extras to put his team in front after 10 minutes.
It took Hawke's Bay another 20 minutes to respond, pivot Daniel Kirkpatrick sparking the counter-attack with an initial breakout which finished when returning full-back Israel Dagg dotted down at the other end.
Kirkpatrick levelled the scores with the conversion, and the two teams went into the break deadlocked.
It didn't take long for Tasman to reclaim the lead thanks to a try to wing James Kamana after good work on the counter-attack from James Marshall and number eight Joe Wheeler following turnover ball.
The 14-7 lead expanded 10 minutes later, again from a turnover, as Hawke's Bay proved lax at the breakdown, and Tom Marshall scooped up the loose ball and sprinted clear for the try, converted by Alfeld.
James Marshall then saw a long-range drop goal attempt fall under the bar.
Hawke's Bay battled right to the final whistle, but an inspired Tasman defence held strong – keeping out prop Clint Newland who was held up over the line which was as close as the Magpies got to a second score.
Tries: J Marshall, Kamana, T Marshall
Cons: Alfeld 3
For Hawke's Bay:
Tasman: 15 Robbie Malneek, 14 Blair Cook, 13 Kade Poki, 12 Tom Marshall, 11 James Kamana, 10 James Marshall, 9 Steve Alfeld, 8 Joe Wheeler, 7 Jonathan Poff, 6 Tasi Luafutu, 5 Chris Jack (c), 4 Glenn Gregory, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Francis Smith, 1 Fai Mika.
Replacements: 16 Vernon Fredericks, 17 Hamish Cochrane, 18 Anthony Elisala, 19 Shane Christie, 20 Kaide Whiting, 21 Sione Holani, 22 Jack Umaga.
Hawke's Bay: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Star Timu, 12 Jason Shoemark (c), 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Michael Coman, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Michael Johnson, 5 Ross Kennedy, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Clint Newland.
Replacements: 16 Eugene Smith, 17 Leighton Price, 18 Kas Lealamanua, 19 Grant Webb, 20 Chris Eaton, 21 Andrew Horrell, 22 Sinoti Sinoti.