Southland will be pleased Tasman did their side a favour in denying Manawatu a spot in next weekend's Championship semifinals. They wouldn't have been happy that their next opponents did it in such dominant fashion.
The Championship's top seed surged into the semifinals with a 57-14 thrashing of Manawatu in Blenheim yesterday to set up a home semifinal against fourth-placed Southland. Tasman number 10 Marty Banks yet again led the way for the Makos topping 20 points for the fifth time this season in a 27-point haul that included two tries and seven conversions.
The Makos crossed over eight times in total, six of which came in the second half as Tasman, with a stiff breeze behind them, flew by the Turbos.
Manawatu needed at least two competition points to steal the final playoff spot from Southland and they looked a real chance early on with the wind at their backs.
They held the lead twice on the back of two tries that relied heavily on Hail Mary passes.
Turbos' number 10 Jade Te Rure scored the opening try on the nine-minute mark after three risky passes all paid off in the lead up for the visitors. Following a solo effort by Tasman halfback Billy Guyton, Manawatu regained a 14-10 lead late in the first half when Leroy Van Dam threw another speculator pass to Heiden Bedwell-Curtis who eventually gave the assist to Lewis Marshall.
That's where the luck ended. Manawatu winger Newton Tudreu literally threw the lead away when he tossed a risky quick lineout on halfway over the head of Lewis Marshall. Four Tasman players converged onto the ball with Mitchell Scott eventually running free for the Makos' second try, giving the home side a 17-14 lead at the break. With luck and the wind deserting Manawatu in the second half, Tasman made the most of turnover ball to take control of the match. The Makos scored shortly after the break when hooker Francis Smith finished off a fine team try which went from one side of the field to the other, with the assist coming from loosehead prop Tim Perry to complete the 1-2 try for Tasman's third, making it 22-14.
Perry wasn't done there, surging through a gap and running 22m for a solo try five minutes later. He then crossed over for a double in the 61st minute, running 20 metres less than his first effort in a more traditional prop's try. With a Bank's conversion Tasman were up 36-14 and Manawatu's semifinal hopes were all but gone.
It was fitting that Tasman's points scoring machine helped the Makos rack up the score in the final quarter as Banks crossed over for a double of his own while turning provider for an assist to set up Andy Symons for his first ITM Cup try.
Tasman 57: Billy Guyton, Mitchell Scott, Francis Smith, Tim Perry 2, Marty Banks 2, Andrew Symons. Marty banks 7 cons, 1 pen.
Manawatu 14: Jade Tu Rere, Lewis Marshall tries. Te Rure 2 cons