The Tasman Mako held on for a narrow 28-22 Mitre 10 Cup premiership win over the Wellington Lions at Westpac Stadium on Saturday night.
Story from WRFU
The win, which lifted Tasman to the top of the premiership table, was built very much around a disciplined forward effort as they held a clear edge up front.
While the two sides were even in a lot of facets of play, it was Tasman’s ability to strike at key times that also gave them their overall advantage.
The visitors driving play also put the home side under pressure for periods as they were well organised and ruthless in the right parts of the field.
It was a huge credit to the character of the Lions, especially on defence, that they kept themselves in the game as Tasman dominated possession for long periods.
The Lions also gave themselves a chance at victory late in the match when replacement Thomas Umaga-Jensen crossed out wide but the Mako held on through their ability to hold on to the ball as the seconds ticked away.
On a tricky night to play with a blustery and swirling wind, the sides looked to be heading into the break locked at 10-10.
However, a late penalty gave the Mako a 13-10 lead at halftime and they extended that lead when they scored early in the second half.
The Lions closed the gap with a try to captain Galo Taufere but could not stop the Mako going over again before Umaga-Jensen’s late five pointer.
The Lions now prepare to face Auckland, whose unbroken winning run came to an end with a surprise 31-26 defeat by Otago on Friday. The Lions will host Auckland in a big showdown at Westpac stadium on Thursday night.
Tasman 28 (Finlay Christie, Solomon Alaimalo, Jacob Norris, John Akau’ola-Laula tries; Mitch Hunt con, 2 pen)
Wellington 22 (Xavier Numia, Galu Taufale, Thomas Umaga-Jensen tries; Jackson Garden-Bachop 2 con, pen).