Sat, Sep 25, 2021 2:22 PM
Pari Pari Parkinson was busy in a losing effort in Nelson last night. Photo: Barry Whitnall/Shuttersport
Although the wheels have definitely not have fallen off Tasman’s 2021 provincial rugby campaign, there is no doubt they need tightening and certainly some oil.
However, just as one sparking victory is not enough to suggest a champion team in this cut-throat NPC competition, one defeat does not mean all is lost.
The Mako were out-thought, out-enthused and out-scored for the majority of their 39-22 loss to Waikato at Trafalgar Park on Saturday, the Mooloo men ending an unbeaten run at Trafalgar Park that dated back to 2018.
It had been seven years since Waikato had got the better of Tasman and 14 years since they had beaten the Mako away from home.
Tasman head coach Andrew Goodman described his side’s effort as “disappointing”.
He laid the blame for their demise at lack of execution.
“We created enough opportunities in the first spell,” he suggested.
“Even coming out after halftime we knew both their tries had come off turnovers which they had not created through any play of their own. We also felt we had left a couple [of tries] out there so we were confident going out after halftime knowing that if we finished on our terms and built some phases we could put them under pressure.
“But once again our breakdown was inaccurate, they took their opportunities when they got into our 22 and we, through knock-ons or missed cleans, gave them the opportunity to get on the ball where they were really strong tonight.”
Andrew said the side’s build-up during the week had gone well.
“That’s the frustrating thing about it … there was good energy, intent and accuracy [about our training] but we just didn’t follow through tonight, for whatever reason.”
Tasman’s woes stemmed from an inability to stamp their mark on the game in the early stages.
They landed a second-minute penalty and had multiple opportunities through a wealth of possession and filed position to create a points buffer which would sow the seeds of doubt in their opponent’s mind.
However, poor option-taking, lack of ball control and a staunch Waikato defence kept the visitors in the game, both physically and mentally.
Then, two tries against the run-of-play added to the visiting side’s self-belief while Tasman’s lack of attacking variation became apparent as their frustration levels rose.
The home side’s inability to make the most of their rival’s willingness to concede penalties, and subsequently two yellow cards, was very un-Mako-like.
Perhaps indicative of the respective sides’ struggles on the night was the efforts of their No 8s, former All Blacks Liam Messam and Shannon Frizell.
The former was superb, his vast experience and game sense vital to the Mooloo effort.
In comparison, Frizell had one of his least-effective games in the red shirt, making several uncharacteristic errors.
Expect a swift return to his usual lofty standards next weekend when Tasman host Southland at Lansdowne Park on Sunday, kick-off 4.35pm.
Among a few bright spots for Tasman on Friday were the efforts of debutant Macca Stringer and replacement halfback Louie Chapman, who brought some urgency to the party.
Once again, Timoci Tavatavanawai was a potent ball of energy on the wing and extremely unlucky to be penalised late in the match when Tasman were pushing hard for a bonus point try.
But that pretty much summed up how the evening played out for the home side.
Andrew said the players had taken the result hard.
“They are hurt, really hurt.
“They all care for this team and when we don’t get the performance and result they will hold themselves and each other accountable.
“It will be a big week for us because Southland are a bloody good team and they are going to look at [tonight’s game] and think there is a good opportunity to come up here and knock us over.
“There are some clear things we have to look at because we know we have to improve quickly for next week and the coming weeks.
“We are a good team … we have lads that care a lot about the jersey so we will learn from this and come back better.”
Scorers: Waikato 39 (Coombs-Fabling 2, Lansdown, Wrampling, Cortez Ratima tries, Smith 4 con, 2 pen) Tasman 22 (Fainga’anuku, Frizell, Makalio tries, Hunt 2 cons, pen).