Tasman consolidated their position on the table when they claimed a hard-fought 15-10 win over Counties in Blenheim on Thursday.
Marty Banks was the home side's hero as he scored all their points via five penalties and Jimmy Tupou scored the only try of the match for Counties.
Tasman were fastest out of the blocks and were up 9-0 by the 25th minute after Banks slotted three penalties but Counties struck back via Tupou's try two minutes later. The visitors' co-captain rounded off an overlap in the corner and Piers Francis added the extras to reduce the defict to two points.
Counties suffered a setback on the hour mark, however, when Augustine Pulu was yellow carded for punching. Banks added another penalty before Francis added a three-pointer of his own from the kicking tee which meant Tasman held a slender 12-10 lead at the break.
The second half was a war of attrition with the only points of the half coming in the 70th minute when Banks landed his fifth penalty which would seal the win for the home side.
Pens: Banks 5
For Counties Manukau:
Yellow Card: Pulu
Tasman: 15 Mitchell Hunt, 14 Tima Faingaanuku, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 David Havili, 11 Caleb Makene, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Billy Guyton, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Shannon Frizell, 6 Tevita Koloamatangi, 5 Alex Ainley (c), 4 Quinten Strange, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Andrew Makalio, 1 Kane Hames
Replacements: 16 Jesse MacDonald, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Siua Halanukonuka, 19 Jeff Lepa, 20 Ethan Blackadder, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Alex Nankivell, 23 Trael Joass
Counties Manukau: 15 Luteru Laulala, 14 Sione Fifita, 13 Sam Vaka, 12 Cardiff Vaega, 11 Sherwin Stowers, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Augustine Pulu (cc), 8 Sootala Fa'aso'o, 7 Jordan Taufua, 6 Jimmy Tupou (cc), 5 Matiaha Martin, 4 Viliame Rarasea, 3 Kalolo Tuiloma, 2 Gafatasi Su'a, 1 Sean Bagshaw
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Sione Faletau, 19 Matt Vaai, 20 Onosa'i Auva'a, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Joe Ikenasio, 23 Sione Molia
Referee: Jamie Nutbrown