A last-minute try from replacement Kieron Fonotia saw Tasman claim a shock 25-22 victory over neighbours Canterbury in Nelson.
A last-minute try from replacement Kieron Fonotia saw Tasman claim a shock 25-22 ITM Cup victory over neighbours Canterbury in Nelson.
Last time these two met in a competitive match Canterbury won 36-32, but revenge was sweet for the Makos, who had only prevailed once before.
Tasman were without Tom Marshall, Mitchell Scott and Liam Squire for the game but Jordan Taufua stepped up to the plate as they caused an upset. Their tries came from openside flanker Shane Christie, full-back Robbie Malneek and Fonotia while inside centre Andrew Goodman and fly-half Hayden Cripps kicked vital points for their side.
Canterbury had started the better and quickly went into a three-point lead courtesy of Tom Taylor's boot and could have doubled their lead minutes later but for Tyler Bleyendaal's long-ranger drifting outside the uprights. There was to be no further score until the 25th minute at Trafalgar Park.
Then came a surge from the Makos as a break from number eight Taufua found Bryce Heem in support. From there it was a case of numbers and Christie was able to go over.
Over the remaining minutes until the break the lead changed hands twice as first Taylor replied to make it 5-6 before Goodman found his range to make it 8-6. He then added to the lead before Taylor responded on the whistle to make it an 11-9 half-time scoreline.
Bleyendaal, who was playing alongside fellow playmaker Taylor in the backline, put the Cantabs back in front soon after the interval with a penalty and was enjoying the front-foot ball being created by his forward pack. Matt Todd and Nasi Manu were impressive but perhaps even more so was the options the visitors had on their bench, as George Whitelock, Ryan Crotty and Andy Ellis all made an appearance in the second-half.
That pressure paid off in the 49th minute when Tasman came offside and Taylor stepped up to make it 11-12 to the holders in a contest that looked to be going down to the wire.
Cue a response from the Makos as experienced centre Goodman broke the line well before handing on to full-back Malneek, who scooted over in the left corner. Goodman slotted an excellent conversion to paper over what had been a disappointing night with the boot.
It looked like Tasman were en route to a memorable win but when wing Johnny McNicholl crossed wide on the right and Bleyendaal kicked the extras, heartbreak was on the cards.
But up stepped replacement back Fonotia, who barged over with seconds remaining to allow Goodman the final say on what was an epic second 40 minutes at Trafalgar Park.
Tries: Christie, Malneek, Fonotia
Con: Goodman 2
Pen: Taylor 3, Bleyendaal 2
Tasman: 15 Robbie Malneek, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Bryce Heem, 12 Andrew Goodman (capt), 11 James Lowe, 10 Hayden Cripps, 9 Jeremy Su'a, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Shane Christie, 6 Joe Wheeler, 5 Tevita Cavubati, 4 Filipo Levi, 3 Campbell Johnstone, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 Francis Smith, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Vernon Fredricks, 19 Tevita Kolomatangi, 20 Steve Alfeld, 21 Kieron Fonotia, 22 George Millar.
Canterbury: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Adam Whitelock, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Tom Taylor, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Willi Heinz (capt), 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Luke Whitelock, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Luke Katene, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Codey Taylor, 17 Paea Fa'anunu, 18 Joel Everson, 19 George Whitelock, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Ryan Crotty, 22 Telusa Veainu.
Referee: Richard Kelly