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Stubborn Tasman hold off Taranaki

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/09/2016

Tasman have stolen a 25-20 rugby NPC Premiership win over Taranaki at Trafalgar Park in Nelson.

Taranaki looked to have the game well in control after running in two tries and easing out to an 11-point lead early in the second half.

But Tasman's tenacity, and the ever-accurate boot of Marty Banks, proved telling as the home team surged home with 19 second-half points for the win.

Both sides had only a couple of penalties apiece to show from 26 minutes of disjointed first-half rugby, Banks landing two for Tasman and Marty McKenzie reciprocating for Taranaki.

All Blacks centre Seta Tamanivalu broke the deadlock seven minutes out from the half-time break, latching onto a Sean Wainui offload and diving over after Taranaki spun the ball wide.

The visitors' flat-line defence worked hard to close down Tasman whenever they threatened, but both sides were guilty of handling errors and Taranaki could only take an unconvincing 13-6 lead into half-time.

Another Banks penalty four minutes after the restart further narrowed the gap, but Taranaki hit back five minutes later.

Tasman's lack of accuracy was punished when Banks floated a wide pass which Taranaki's sevens star Beaudein Waaka gratefully hauled in before sprinting 70 metres for the intercept try.

McKenzie's conversion gave Taranaki a 20-9 lead, and the visitors looked set to record their third successive win of the competition.

But another Banks penalty followed by a Kieron Fonotia try narrowed the margin to 20-19 as the hour mark neared.

Two more Banks penalties gave Tasman some breathing room, but they had to withstand intense Taranaki pressure right to the final whistle, including a disallowed Sione Lea try with just one minute on the clock.

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