It's not often you'll find yourself saying how poor Canterbury played in a Mitre 10 Cup fixture, but in an opening loss to Tasman on Friday night they sure didn't impress.
Falling off tackles, squandering possession and turning the ball over, it's hard to imagine Canterbury won the fixture 39-0 to start the 2017 season.
And Canterbury never really looked like they were in the contest. Tasman controlled the football for the majority of the first 20 minutes – building a 10-0 lead in that time, and they did that despite bombing a number of promising attacks inside the Canterbury 22.
While Canterbury were unable to launch any sort of promising attack, Tasman were the opposite. With the vast majority of the possession and most of the territory – including 81 per cent in the first half - Tasman took their opportunities, and sent a warning shot to the rest of the competition.
After Mitchell Hunt opened the scoring from the tee, Levi Aumua scored the first try of the Mako season, capitalising on sustained pressure to slip through some poor defence close to the line
Canterbury hit back with a penalty from the boot of Brett Cameron, closing the gap to seven points at the break.
It took just one minute after the interval for Tasman to strike again, with loose forward Quinten Strange crossing the stripe following a bounce pass from hooker Andrew Makalio. Six minutes later, the Mako were over the line again, this time through winger Solomon Alaimalo – fresh off a breakout Super Rugby campaign with the Chiefs.
However, when Tasman's Blair Prinsep was shown a yellow card in the 69th minute, Canterbury capitalised. After struggling all game to string an attack together, substitute hooker Greg Pleasants-Tate crashed over from close range, and the big fella found himself with a double seven minutes later when he was the benefactor of a strong lineout drive.
The two late tries made the scoreline much more respectable for the red and black, flattering them in what was a dominant outing from the Mako.
Tasman 25 (Levi Aumua, Quinten Strange, Solomon Alaimalo tries; Mitchell Hunt 2 cons, 2 pens)
Canterbury 17 (Greg Pleasants-Tate 2 tries; Brett Cameron 2 con, pen)