Rugby: Banks helps Tasman topple Taranaki

Tasman 25 Taranaki 20
Marty Banks led Tasman to a Mitre 10 Cup victory over Tasman. Photo /
Marty Banks led Tasman to a Mitre 10 Cup victory over Tasman. Photo /

The boot of Marty Banks was this afternoon enough to lift Tasman past Taranaki and allow them to keep pace with the front-runners in the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership.

Banks slotted six penalties and a conversion as Tasman came from behind to topple the visitors to Trafalgar Park in Nelson, putting his side ahead from the tee with 13 minutes remaining before giving them a bit of breathing room in the closing stages.

The intervention of the first five was needed to boost a Tasman attack that was otherwise a touch restrained, having lost wing James Lowe before kickoff to a potentially serious thumb injury.

Taranaki enjoyed much more of the running in what was an occasionally disjointed replay of the 2014 final, leaving Tasman to make twice as many tackles and survive on a lesser share of the ball. But make those tackles the home side did, crossing only once through Kieron Fonotia but emerging triumphant courtesy of Banks and the poor discipline of their opponents.

Taranaki broke an early deadlock to hit the front through Seta Tamanivalu, with the returning All Black making the most of a strong run and offload from Sean Wainui. That try helped them take a seven-point lead to the break but Banks then began steadily chipping away, gradually atoning for the loopy pass he threw that was intercepted by Beaudein Waaka for the visitors' second try.

Fonotia struck 20 minutes from time and Banks added the extras to pull Tasman within one, as the errors began to pile up in the Taranaki attack and prevent them from edging further in front.

And, after Banks put them in front for the first time since the opening minutes, Tasman were left to breath a sigh of relief when the TMO denied Sione Lea a late try after correctly spotting offside in the build-up.

The win was Tasman's second from three games and allowed them to pull within three points of current leaders Counties-Manukau.

Tasman 25 (K. Fonotia try; M. Banks 6 pens, con)
Taranaki 20 (S. Tamanivalu, B. Waaka tries; M. McKenzie 2 pens, 2 cons)
Halftime: 6-13

- NZ Herald

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