North Harbour 23 - 12 Tasman, ITM Cup
North Harbour upset sloppy Tasman
September 13, 2013
Francis Saili ensured the home side took the points with a try six minutes from full-time
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An inspired North Harbour tore up the form book to upset Championship leaders Tasman 23-12 and secure their first win of their 2013 campaign.
North Harbour's revival, in which they scored 20 unanswered points, was made likely only through some disappointing inaccuracies from a usually-reliable Tasman side that couldn't adapt to North Harbour's solid defence.
Fullback Marty Banks kicked four penalties in the first half to ensure Tasman held a deserved 12-6 lead. The hosts lifted the tempo in the second half and were rewarded with the first try of the match to inspirational prop Ben Afeaki, the prop going over to give North Harbour a lead for the first time in the match with 30 minutes remaining.
North Harbour's territory-based game only gained more traction as the rain started to fall in the final quarter of the match. Their set piece remained solid throughout the evening and went a long way to securing their first win of the year before the country's newest All Black, Francis Saili, iced the game for the underdogs.
By contrast, Tasman's uncharacteristic errors continued to haunt them throughout the half as they chased the game to their detriment. Such was their poor evening with the ball that when a player intercepted a poor Nafi Tuitavake pass it was immediately knocked on.
In the end North Harbour's bench proved to be the difference as the last-placed Championship side secured their fifth win over Tasman in six matches to become the visitors' bogey side. North Harbour move to fourth in the Championship with nine points to be equal with Otago and Manawatu ,while Tasman remain on top of the second division.