Big pre-sea­son win for Tas­man over Coun­ties

Marlborough Express - - SPORT - WAYNE MARTIN

Tas­man Makos head coach Leon MacDon­ald hasn’t watched much lo­cal club rugby this sea­son but was im­pressed with Wed­nes­day’s by-prod­uct as his Tas­man Emerg­ing Play­ers over­whelmed the Coun­ties Cava­liers 49-26 in Man­gere.

The Crusaders as­sis­tant coach, MacDon­ald took ad­van­tage of the Su­per Rugby break to join his play­ers for their first pre-sea­son hit-out of the sea­son. And af­ter watch­ing them run in seven con­verted tries, he couldn’t help but be im­pressed.

‘‘There were some ab­so­lutely stand-out per­for­mances from some guys and the phys­i­cal­ity of the game was im­pres­sive,’’ MacDon­ald said.

‘‘Both teams brought a lot of in­ten­sity in the tackle and the break­down and it was a big step up from club rugby.’’

Tas­man led 28-14 at the break fol­low­ing tries to wings Johnny Ika and Fletcher Matthews, cen­tre Ru­pena Parkin­son and flanker Tone Ng Shiu.

They added a fur­ther three in the sec­ond half, two of them to sub­sti­tute hooker Pele­foti Si­aki, with re­serve winger To­mas Aoake com­plet­ing the haul.

The game pro­duced plenty of ball move­ment from both sides and ef­fec­tive scram­bling de­fence by the Tas­man play­ers in what MacDon­ald de­scribed as ‘‘a good day out’’.

‘‘[Lock] Shan­non Frizell was out­stand­ing, we know he’s a qual- ity player and he was mas­sive to­day.

‘‘[Cap­tain and flanker] Ethan Black­ad­der has shown that he’s taken his game to an­other level.’’

The halves pair­ing of Ben Finau and Tim O’Mal­ley showed ex­cel­lent con­trol and dis­tri­bu­tion, with O’Mal­ley also kick­ing six con­ver­sions be­fore full­back An­drew Knew­stubb added the sev­enth.

The pacey Ika showed some clever touches in bro­ken play, as did No 8 Vern Fred­er­icks who cre­ated the break for Aoake’s sec­ond half try.

Hooker Sam Moli showed plenty of ma­tu­rity in his first year out of col­lege.

‘‘Our set piece was pretty solid for not a mas­sively big pack and Drew Petelo did a good job at tight­head [prop] early on and gave us a good scrum. So there were some good per­for­mances all round re­ally.’’

Tas­man’s next pre-sea­son clash with Manawatu in Palmer­ston North on Au­gust 2.

GETTY IM­AGES

Shan­non Frizell, in ac­tion here against Taranaki last sea­son, made an out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to Tas­man’s win.

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