Tasman 41
Manawatu 21

The Makos march on.

They are 3-0, top of the Premiership, and deservedly so, after repelling the promoted Turbos 41-21 in Blenheim, whilst securing the bonus point.

From two-try hero Peter Samu and his fellow loose forwards Shane Christie and Liam Squire, plus hooker Quentin MacDonald, Tasman brought energy and execution for most of the encounter.

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Halfback Jimmy Cowan, off the bench, showed there is still life in his 33-year-old legs, scoring a try, and of course there was first five Marty Banks, quietly banging over eight goals from 10 for a 21-point haul.

The only blot on the Makos' night was a trip by Christie on his opposite Callum Gibbins, which incurred a yellow card and a penalty try from RWC-bound referee Glen Jackson.

In the first spell, the Makos monopolised possession, presented a stable set-piece, and moved the ball freely. The upshot was four goals to Banks and two nicely worked tries.

Hooker MacDonald scored the first off a lineout drive and Samu the second, his first, after heavy pressure and a nice long pass by MacDonald, who is easily good enough for another Super Rugby contract.

And yet Manawatu, starved off ball, scored the opening try, and it was a sweet one too.
Wing Ambrose Curtis made an incision from off the top lineout ball and he fed halfback Kayne Hammington. Still, at 21-7, the platform was in place for a solid Makos' victory.

The Turbos hung tough and ended with three tries, but were a clear second.

Both sides pleasingly showed plenty of attacking intent, and Makos centre Kieran Fonotia seems better able to express himself with his passing game than he does with the Crusaders.

Coach Kieran Keane called the first 40 some of the best rugby the Makos had played all season. Who would argue?

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Tasman travel to Otago next Friday night for a crossover clash, while Manawatu will host Canterbury on Thursday night in the Premiership.

Tasman 41 (Peter Samu 2, Quentin MacDonald, Jimmy Cowan tries; Marty Banks 3 con, 5 pen) Manawatu 21 (Kayne Hammington, Semisi Masirewa tries, penalty try; Otere Black 3 con) Halftime: 21-7