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Sixth-placed for Tasman in National U19 rugby tournament

No 10 Willy Havili was an early casualty in Tasman's heavy loss to Bay of Plenty.
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No 10 Willy Havili was an early casualty in Tasman's heavy loss to Bay of Plenty.

Tasman have experienced the harsh realities of life in the big time after a heavy 74-10 loss to Bay of Plenty at the Jock Hobbs Memorial National Under-19 rugby tournament in Taupo on Saturday.

Having won the South Island zone seeding series, Tasman were eventually outclassed by the Chiefs zone winners as BOP eventually ran away with the contest after leading 32-10 at the break.

Tasman's sixth placing was still their best ever finish at the national age group tournament and their first time in the top flight Graham Mourie Cup competition. But there was no denying BOP's dominance, despite Tasman snatching an early 7-0 lead through a try to reserve halfback Tyler Power.

Tasman lost their key playmaker Willy Havili inside the opening two minutes with an ankle injury, although realistically, that had little influence on the final outcome.

Tasman head coach Mike Fraser admitted they were beaten by a superior side.

"It was a step too far today," he said.

"We actually started really well. After about 22 minutes and playing into a strong wind, we were leading the game. We lost [No 8 Isaiah] Miller around that time ... and to be honest they just got some ascendancy.

"But we were doing really well, we were dominating the forward exchanges up to that time, our scrum was great, the lineouts were great."

After the loss of Miller and with big ball carrying lock Sosefo Vaka also suffering from flu, Fraser said that Tasman "lost a bit of horsepower".

"But it just became one-way traffic. They were too physical for us up front, the backs missed tackles and it was game over ... we just weren't in the game.

"I suppose it was a bit of a test of our depth after playing three games in the last eight days ... we just got bashed up and that was the end of it, it was game over."

Flanker Tim Sail, a gutsy Vaka and prop Eden Beech still produced solid efforts.

"They were a big side and were pretty physical and to be honest probably taught our boys a bit of a lesson.

"But to be honest, the boys have done really well. We've won six of our eight games and while it wasn't how we wanted to finish, we just weren't good enough on the day."

Meanwhile, Auckland won the Graham Mourie Cup for the first time with a 30-17 win over Waikato, while Counties Manukau won their third straight second-tier Michael Jones Trophy title with a 33-31 win over Southland.