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Spirited Tasman Deflate North Harbour

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Spirited Tasman Deflate North Harbour

Wellington, Aug 7 NZPA - North Harbour, conquerors of defending champions Canterbury last week, were deflated by a spirited Tasman side who came from behind to beat them 19-15 in an Air NZ Cup rugby match at Albany tonight.

Tasman lived off scraps of possession and territory and trailed 6-15 with 23 minutes to go.

But their breakthrough came against the run of play when blindside flanker Daniel Crichton made a clean break from a ruck near the 22m line and set up fullback Robbie Malneek for the opening try of the match.

Up until that stage Tasman had paying for a lack of discipline with Michael Harris kicking five penalties for North Harbour.

First five-eighth Harris had been key to the win over Canterbury, kicking five penalties and a conversion and was on song again tonight.

Tasman trailed 6-12 at the end of a dour first half, their points coming from penalties by Andrew Goodman and Matty James.

North Harbour played much of the half inside Tasman ground but could not find the key to the tryline.

They had a superior lineout but spilled or turned the ball over just when they were building a head of steam up.

North Harbour coach Craig Dowd rolled his pair of aces out for the second half, injecting All Blacks backs Luke McAlister and Rudi Wulf into the mix.

But neither made could make much of an impact as North Harbour fell into a flat patch with their scrum losing ground to Tasman.

Sterling work by No 8 Mark Bright and prop Ben Franks sparked the Tasman forwards into action.

They gained parity in possession and held on longer to the ball to steadily clawed back ground lost to North Harbour.

After Malneek's try, Tasman came close to scoring again, but but McAlister pulled off a superb tackle on Goodman, dropping the second five-eighth just centimetres from the tryline.

North Harbour simply could not find a way back into the game and Tasman's next try was built on a long passage of forward rushes which was rewarded when reserve prop Tristan Moran crashed over in the corner.

A Matty James penalty in the 78th minute sealed a fine win for Tasman who had lost their opening match of the competition 9-21 to Taranaki.

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