The Tasman Makos B team took a notable scalp in Christchurch on Saturday afternoon, beating their Canterbury rugby counterparts 37-13.
Both sides scored two tries in the first half at Linwood Park, after which Tasman led 18-13, before the visitors took control of the second 40 minutes, racking up 19 unanswered points.
Open side flanker Braden Stewart who, along with No 8 Tone Ng Shiu, was a standout in a hard-working and efficient forward pack, scored both Tasman's first half tries. They followed a slow start from the visitors as they shook the travel out of their system, struggling with patience and teamwork in their first hit-out. Canterbury B camped on Tasman's line and eventually scored first, pushing out to an early 8-3 advantage before Tasman's troops began to gel.
Although it was anybody's game at halftime, Tasman soon got into their work and gained ascendancy. Their scrum, which was under extreme pressure prior to the break, became more solid with the introduction of replacements Jack Best, Sam Moli and Ethan Reuben. The forwards cleaned out efficiently at the breakdown, enabling swift and accurate recycling, which allowed right winger Tomas Aoake to help himself to three tries. James Hawkey landed three conversions and kicked two first half penalties to further extend the advantage.
Tasman coach Mark Stewart said his side battled to get into the game in the early stages. "We knuckled down to our work, created phase after phase and eventually broke them down," he said. "As soon as we started getting our ball carriers over the advantage line it got better and better for us."
He praised "a gritty defence" for his side's ability to keep such a potent side scoreless in the second 40. "The boys had a bit of a point to prove, that they want to be Makos ... they stuck to their guns, everyone put their hand up today.
"They wanted to prove that they should be the next cab off the rank [for the Makos]."
Stewart said first five James Hawkey shone in the backline, along with Johnny Ika, Sam Chamberlain and the dangerous Aoake, who took his opportunities superbly and showed "a bit of brilliance" to bag his hat-trick.
Replacement loose forward Pelefoti Siaki was another to earn praise, providing impact from the bench.
Tasman B play their second, and final game, against Wellington B in Blenheim next weekend.
Tasman B 37 (Braden Stewart 2, Tomas Aoake 3 tries, James Hawkey 2 pen, 3 con) Canterbury B 13. HT: 18-13 Tasman.