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Tasman U19s overpower Otago in 10-try romp

Tasman centre and captain, Rupena Parkinson, breaks Otago's defensive line.

Tasman centre and captain, Rupena Parkinson, breaks Otago's defensive line.

For about 60 minutes it was barely a contest.

However, three late tries salvaged some respectability for the visitors as the Tasman Under-19s nevertheless recorded a stunning 62-19 win over their Otago counterparts at Nelson's Trafalgar Park on Saturday.

It was Tasman's first South Island seeding match ahead of next month's Jock Hobbs Memorial National Under-19 rugby tournament in Taupo, but after clinically blowing away Otago by 10 tries to three, the real test comes next Saturday in Christchurch when they meet 2015 national champions Canterbury.

Tasman winger Timoci Tavatavanawai is tackled by Otago centre Trevor Smith.

Tasman winger Timoci Tavatavanawai is tackled by Otago centre Trevor Smith.

Tasman are chasing a place in the top tier Graham Mourie Cup premiership and on the evidence of Saturday's efforts, they appear well primed for a step up into the big time.

Having led 36-0 at halftime, Tasman eventually blew out to a staggering 62-0 lead before three tries in the final four minutes, two of them to reserve prop George Thomas, earned Otago some late consolation. Although by that stage, Tasman had cleared their bench and were down to 14 men following the sin-binning of otherwise impressive winger Timoci Tavatavanawai for a shoulder charge.

Tasman fullback Jamie Spowart provided the obvious star turn, showing genuine pace and skill in scoring four tries, left winger Mitch Amberger also grabbing a hat-trick through some quality finishing.

Besides Spowart, centre and captain Rupena Parkinson dominated the midfield with his penetrative running, while first five-eighth Willy Havili's control and precision kicking, on the back of halfback Jack Grooby's quality service, provided the catalyst for Tasman's spirited attack.

However, at the essence of it all was a well-drilled Tasman forward pack whose high-intensity, physical approach proved beyond Otago's apparent skill-set.

No 8 Isaiah Miller, lock Sosefo Vaka, flanker Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta and hooker Samiuela Moli commanded a physical presence as a dominant scrum and Tasman's efficiency at the breakdown helped provide a perfect platform for their backs. 

Tasman had their bonus point try, and a 24-0 lead, after just 16 minutes as part of their six-try first half blitz. They'd finish the half with six, but Otago returned with more purpose in the second half as two early line breaks showed some promise

However, Tasman proved as clinical in defence as they were on attack and the points continued to flow as they ran in another four tries ahead of Otago's late rally.

Tasman coach Mike Fraser was well satisfied with his team's performance.

"We basically went in with a game plan and the boys have been able to execute it," Fraser said.

"We've put some reasonable time into how we want to play the game and today it came together.

"We've been putting a lot of focus into what we're doing at the breakdown and just trying to get our shapes right so, yeah, it's a good result."


Tasman Under-19 62 (Jamie Spowart 4, Mitch Amberger 3, Jack Grooby, Jakob Dabinett, Isaiah Miller tries, Willy Havili 6 con) Otago Under-19 19 (George Thomas 2, Isimeli Tuivaga tries, Angus Gray 2 con) HT: 36-0.