Sat, Nov 6, 2021 3:57 PM

Mako quest for three-peat still alive

Leicester Fainga'anuku got himself on the scoresheet in the 34-22 win over Wellington today. Photo: Barry Whitnall/Shuttersport (File)

Jonty Dine

It's not over yet.

The Tasman Mako's season was on the line at Lansdowne Park in Blenheim this afternoon, and the defending champions responded with a strong performance to take maximum points against Wellington.

A loss would have seen the side's quest for three consecutive titles squandered, however the Mako have ensured themselves a semi final spot, with their opponent to be decided later this weekend.

Tasman made a stunning start to the contest before the Lions staged a late comeback, the Mako surviving for a 34-22 victory.

The Mako struck three times in the opening fifteen minutes in a blistering start to the contest.  

Local veteran Quentin MacDonald kicked off the scoring off a trademark rolling maul before Jacob Norris was the second beneficiary of another powerful surge from the pack.

Just as the Lions looked to be building some momentum, Leceister Fainga'anuku snatched it away as he latched onto a poor pass and went 80 metres to put the Mako up 17-0.

The all important bonus point came after just 25 minutes through rampaging centre Levi Aumua who linked with midfield partner Alex Nankivell after a superb run.

Taine Plumtree finally got the visitors on the board with a try in the corner, set up by the impressive Matt Proctor.

Skipper Mitch Hunt struck back with a penalty to give his side a 20-point advantage heading into the sheds.

Wellington reduced this to ten early in the second, Jackson Garden-Bachop making up for his intercept pass with a slick try while Aidan Morgan added a further five with the boot.

Replacement hooker Tyrone Thompson sent a scare throughout the ground with Wellington's third try suddenly making it a five-point ball game.

However, Tasman illustrated its championship calibre, Anton Segner dotting down in injury time for his first try for the Mako to claim its fourth and most important win of 2021.

The result propels Tasman to second on the premiership table and guarantees them a semi-final next weekend against Hawke's Bay or Waikato.

Scorers:

Tasman 34 (MacDonald, Norris, Fainga'anuku, Aumua, Segner tries, Hunt 3 cons, 1 pen)

Wellington 22 (Plumtree, Garden-Bachop, Thompson, tries Morgan 2 cons, 1 pen)