Sat, Nov 13, 2021 6:22 PM
The Tasman mako are into the 2021 NPC Premiership final. Photo: Shuttersport
A tenacious display of goal line defence saw the Mako survive a late Magpies onslaught and book its third consecutive NPC Premiership final this afternoon.
Tasman showed plenty of grit before replacement Levi Aumua snatched the crucial turnover that sealed the 33-27 win.
The Mako made the perfect start in Napier, Andrew Makalio rumbling over from a maul as the visitors took an early 10-0 lead.
Hawke's Bay didn't take long to strike back, Danny Toala creating the reply for Jonah Lowe before captain Tom Parsons sneaked blindside to score a second for the hosts.
A stunning bust by Leicester Fainga'anuku which saw the big centre break three tackles set up fullback Andrew Knewstubb for the try.
A fortuitous fourth followed through winger Timoci Tavatavanawai, despite replays showing a clear forward pass to Macca Springer who made the initial linebreak.
Marino Makele-Tu'u reduced the deficit with the games sixth try right on the stroke of halftime to send the sides to the shed at 25-17 in what was an enthralling first forty.
Hawke's Bay opened the scoring in the second as lock Geoff Cridge powered over to make it a one point game.
Lincoln McClutchie put the Magpies in front for the first time with a superb long range penalty.
Fainga'anuku picked off a poor Magpie pass and showed great speed to go 60 metres and reclaim the lead with ten to go.
Hawke's Bay rode back to back penalties and threw its strongest weapon at Tasman, the rolling maul.
However, the Mako held firm and will now meet the winner of Waikato and Canterbury next weekend in the grand final.
Tasman 33 (Makalio, Knewstubb, Tavatavanawai, Fainga'anuku, Hunt 2 cons, 3 pens)
Hawke's Bay 27 (Lowe, Parsons, Makele-Tu'u, Cridge, tries McClutchie 2 cons, 1 pen)