Counties Manukau 20 - 40 Tasman, ITM Cup
Tasman too strong for Counties
August 30, 2013
Liam Squire bustles through the Counties defence as Tasman earned a bonus-point victory
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Championship side Tasman pounded premiership newcomers Counties Manukau 40-20 in their National Provincial Championship cross-over rugby match at Pukekohe on Friday. Tasman looked impressive in their second win from three matches, recovering from a slow start to run in 24 second-half points in securing the bonus-point win.
While the boot of fullback Marty Banks kept Tasman in touch early on, Counties looked composed with two classy tries in the first 25 minutes. Augustine Pulu crossed first as the Counties forwards launched an unstoppable drive from an attacking lineout, and featured in the second try soon after with a smart pass to winger Toni Pulu, whose inside offload found Chiefs midfielder Bundee Aki for the try.
Tasman battled back, working the switch play to create extra space for flanker Liam Squire to power over five minutes from half-time. Another exchange of penalties gave Counties the narrowest of half-time leads at 17-16, a margin Counties protected until 15 minutes into the second spell.
Tasman backed first their lineout then their scrum from successive penalties, demolishing Counties up front to leave openside flanker Shane Christie with the easiest of tries and a 23-17 lead. Tasman's skill with the offload kept pressure on the Counties defence and paid dividends 10 minutes later, centre Kieron Fonotia diving over out wide to make it 33-20.
Forced to chase the game, the home team's error rate continued to climb. Tasman's increasingly dominant scrum kept the Counties line under constant pressure until Tom Marshall crossed for the bonus-point try two minutes from full-time.