It certainly wasn't the perfect performance but Tasman retained their unblemished record in the National Provincial Championship's Premiership division with a late 21-17 win over North Harbour this afternoon.

Tasman trailed for most of the match until referee Richard Kelly awarded a penalty try with three minutes remaining to make it six wins from six games to start their campaign. Harbour reserve prop Ropati Rinakama was yellow carded for collapsing a surging Tasman maul, gifting the win to the home side, although replays showed the referee may have got the wrong man for the infringement.

The Mako had to fight back from 17-7 down at halftime after conceding a penalty try of their own in the first half, which along with an early try to James Parsons gave Harbour hope and a 10-point lead.

However, Harbour were held scoreless in the second half, and a try to Sione Havili put them within range, and the penalty try got them over the line.

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Liam Squire managed 50 minutes for Tasman and is meant to remain as an option for an injury replacement at the Rugby World Cup should he be needed, with already one loose forward back-up in Shannon Frizell getting on the plane to Japan last week.

Tasman hold a seven-point buffer atop the Premiership over Wellington, who thrashed Otago 54-24.

They opened the scoring within seconds, with Wes Goosen crossing for one of his three tries, as Wellington ran in eight tries in the rout.

They led 35-5 at halftime, and although Otago managed to salvage a bonus point by scoring four tries, Wellington snagged all five points to leap from fifth to second in a congested Premiership ladder, where just six points separates second from sixth.

Otago sit in third in the Championship, five points behind Bay of Plenty in second, and two ahead of Taranaki.