Sun, Oct 3, 2021 3:49 PM
The Mako put Southland to the sword in Blenheim this afternoon. Photo: Shuttersport. (File)
After suffering a shock loss to Waikato last week, the Tasman Mako bounced back in commanding fashion in Blenheim this afternoon.
A dominant opening quarter took the Stags out of the contest early as the defending champions displayed its class with a 51-14 victory.
It was a new look side that took to Landsdowne Park but looked every bit the quality team that claimed back to back titles ahead of its Ranfurly Shield showdown against Hawke's Bay next Saturday.
The Mako struck first after just 90 seconds through a switch play from Mitch Hunt who found Timoci Tavatavanawai to score the opening try.
The Central flyer went back to back minutes later in the same corner following a powerful surge by Levi Aumua.
Macca Springer then announced himself on the opposite wing, soaring in the air to claim a Hunt cross-kick before stepping the cover and showing his speed to go in under the bar.
Momentum was all with the Mako as Leicester Fainga'anuku scored the bonus point try for his side after just 20 minutes.
Marty Banks finally brought a smile for Stags fans as he plucked out an intercept and streaked away 60 metres to put Southland's first points on the board.
Meanwhile, Tasman was outscoring the clock as Aumua nonchalantly ripped the ball away from Greg Pleasants-Tate to go in for the Mako's fifth try before halftime.
Solomon Alaimalo pulled one back for the visitors to kick off the scoring in the second.
It took 21 minutes for the Mako to strike again and it was through Fainga'anuku who again proved too powerful close to the chalk as he waltzed in for a double.
Sevens star Regan Ware made his Mako debut and didn't take long to make an impression, bringing up the half century for Tasman with his first try.
Tasman will meet the magpies next Saturday afternoon in what will be just its third Ranfurly Shield challenge in the club's history.
Tasman 51 (Tavatavanawai 2, Fainga'anuku 2, Springer, Aumua, Ware, Hunt 5 cons, 2 pens)
Southland 14 (Banks, Alaimalo, tries, Banks 2 cons)