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Tasman women end debut season with historic first win over Hawkes Bay

Midfielder Staci Kohe attempts to power through the defence during Tasman's Farah Palmer cup win over Hawke's Bay.
LUZ ZUNIGA/STUFF

Midfielder Staci Kohe attempts to power through the defence during Tasman's Farah Palmer cup win over Hawke's Bay.

It was hard work and at times downright frustrating but the Tasman women's rugby team have finally created their own piece of Farah Palmer Cup history.

Saturday's 24-12 win over Hawke's Bay at Trafalgar Park was by no means a classic performance. In terms of outcome though, it was the win they so desperately wanted in just their first season at national provincial level.

Tasman eventually outscored Hawke's Bay by three tries to two and led 17-5 at the break. It left Hawke's Bay at the bottom of the championship table without a win although the visitors certainly provided a physical presence that Tasman often struggled to counter.

It was hard work for Tasman's forwards, particularly at the breakdowns where Hawke's Bay's big, strong forwards created plenty of pressure. 

Hawke's Bay paid for their indiscipline though, with three of their players shown yellow cards by young Southland referee Louise Moore. They were reduced to 13 players at one stage early in the second half, Tasman capitalising through a try to reserve first five-eighth Dana Wilson.

It was Tasman's only try of the second half, the home team heading to the break with two tries in the bank through lively hooker Stephani Mitchell and a fine individual effort by No 10 Risi Pouri-Lane who weaved her way through the Hawke's Bay defence on an angled run from 40m out.

Hawke's Bay had opened their account through a try to centre Te Maari MacGregor.

Tasman head coach Marty O'Cain admitted to mixed feelings after the game.

"We've got the win, we went out there to take the win, it wasn't the prettiest game but we did enough to get there," he said.

"I think we played good rugby in the two middle 20s [minute spells] and then outside of that we struggled ... we played a game that they wanted us to play.

"They kept it close which is what we didn't want to do. When we were getting it wide, we made ground and we played our patterns. As soon as we started playing the close and physical game, it got messy."

Despite receiving one of Hawke's Bay's yellow cards, No 8 Awhina Tangen-Wainohu epitomised her team's aggressive approach with a number of bullocking runs.

She was matched by her opposite Jess Foster, the Tasman skipper continuing her impressive season with another strong display both on attack and defence. Prop Ashley Ulutupu also carried strongly while second five-eighth Staci Kohe had a busy first half before being replaced at the break.

Tasman also stood up defensively and were forced to hold out for long periods inside their own quarter. Fullback Felicity Powdrell eventually capitalised with Hawke's Bay's second try three minutes from fulltime but by then, the game was gone.

"It's something we've done a lot of work on, after Otago funnily enough, but the time we spend together just doesn't allow us to cover everything all the time," O'Cain said in reference to Tasman's heavy 82-0 loss in Dunedin earlier this season.

"But heads up to them, we went out to get the win and we got it."

AT A GLANCE

Tasman 24 (Stephani Mitchell, Risi Pouri-Lane, Dana Wilson tries, Pouri-Lane 3 con, pen) Hawke's Bay 12 (Te Maari MacGregor, Felicity Powdrell tries, Amy Williams con) HT: 17-5.