Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Rugby: Tasman continue hot start to season

Marty Banks. Photo / Getty Images.
Marty Banks. Photo / Getty Images.

Tasman 56
Bay of Plenty 27

Tasman are making good on their promotion to the ITM Cup's Premiership, although their opening two wins should come with an asterisk.

Despite playing in the top flight, due to a quirk in the draw, the Makos have begun the 2014 campaign with games against Championship opposition.

They disposed of Hawke's Bay 35-15 last Sunday and registered their second bonus-point victory in as many weeks with a 56-27 victory over Bay of Plenty in Mt Maunganui this evening.

But with the way Tasman are playing, teams in the Premiership should be concerned because the Makos are an attacking side with strike power across the paddock.

They have big, mobile forwards with impressive ball skills, which helps lay the platform for their exciting backline that is well-led by the free-scoring Marty Banks who passed the 200-point mark today, with a 26-point haul, in only his 10th ITM Cup appearance.

Bay of Plenty got on the board first via prop Michael Kainga when he crossed for a rare try but Tasman delivered a try-scoring blitz in the latter stages of the first half as they took a 34-15 lead to the break.

Tasman struggled during the third quarter of the game as they barely had any traction after halftime but when fullback James Lowe crossed the result was secured and the floodgates opened.

Bay of Plenty were left with only a bonus point to show for adding plenty to the spectacle and it marked their second loss in as many games after they were tipped over by Southland last week.

The Steamers will travel to New Plymouth to meet Taranaki next Sunday, while Tasman will head north to play Auckland at Eden Park as they get a chance to meet some fellow Premiership opposition.

How's that for experience? There's still some life in Jimmy Cowan's legs and what a luxury it is for Tasman to be able to call upon the former All Blacks halfback from their bench.

Bank on him: Marty Banks might not have set Super Rugby alight for the Hurricanes this year but the first-five averages more than 20 points per game when he plays in the ITM Cup. The man is prolific.

Tasman 56 (Quentin MacDonald, Tom Marshall, Shane Christie, Kieron Fonotia, James Lowe, Marty Banks, David Havili tries; Banks 3 pen, 6 con) Bay of Plenty 27 (Michael Kainga, Joe Royal, Tino Nemani, Johan Bardoul tries; Dan Hollinshead pen, 2 con) halftime: 34-15

- APNZ

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