Tas­man well beaten by slick Bay of Plenty

Marlborough Express - - SPORT - WAYNE MARTIN

Tas­man have ex­pe­ri­enced the harsh re­al­i­ties of life in the big time af­ter a heavy 74-10 loss to Bay of Plenty at the Jock Hobbs Me­mo­rial Na­tional Un­der-19 rugby tour­na­ment in Taupo on Satur­day.

Hav­ing won the South Is­land zone seeding se­ries, Tas­man were even­tu­ally out­classed by the Chiefs zone win­ners as BOP even­tu­ally ran away with the con­test af­ter lead­ing 32-10 at the break.

Tas­man’s sixth plac­ing was still their best ever fin­ish at the na­tional age group tour­na­ment and their first time in the top flight Graham Mourie Cup com­pe­ti­tion. But there was no deny­ing BOP’s dom­i­nance, de­spite Tas­man snatch­ing an early 7-0 lead through a try to re­serve half­back Tyler Power.

Tas­man lost their key play­maker Willy Hav­ili in­side the open­ing two min­utes with an an­kle in­jury, al­though re­al­is­ti­cally, that had lit­tle in­flu­ence on the fi­nal out­come.

Tas­man head coach Mike Fraser ad­mit­ted they were beaten by a su­pe­rior side.

‘‘It was a step too far to­day,’’ he said.

‘‘We ac­tu­ally started re­ally well. Af­ter about 22 min­utes and play­ing into a strong wind, we were lead­ing the game. We lost [No 8 Isa­iah] Miller around that time ... and to be hon­est they just got some as­cen­dancy.

‘‘But we were do­ing re­ally well, we were dom­i­nat­ing the for­ward ex­changes up to that time, our scrum was great, the li­ne­outs were great.’’

Af­ter the loss of Miller and with big ball car­ry­ing lock Sosefo Vaka also suf­fer­ing from flu, Fraser said that Tas­man ‘‘lost a bit of horse­power’’.

‘‘But it just be­came one-way traf­fic. They were too phys­i­cal for us up front, the backs missed tack­les and it was game over ... we just weren’t in the game.

‘‘I sup­pose it was a bit of a test of our depth af­ter play­ing three games in the last eight days ... we just got bashed up and that was the end of it, it was game over.’’

Flanker Tim Sail, a gutsy Vaka and prop Eden Beech still pro­duced solid ef­forts.

‘‘They were a big side and were pretty phys­i­cal and to be hon­est prob­a­bly taught our boys a bit of a les­son.

‘‘But to be hon­est, the boys have done re­ally well. We’ve won six of our eight games and while it wasn’t how we wanted to fin­ish, we just weren’t good enough on the day.’’

Mean­while, Auck­land won the Graham Mourie Cup for the first time with a 30-17 win over Waikato, while Coun­ties Manukau won their third straight sec­ondtier Michael Jones Tro­phy ti­tle with a 33-31 win over South­land.

GETTY IMAGES

No 10 Willy Hav­ili was an early ca­su­alty in Tas­man’s heavy loss to Bay of Plenty.

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