Tasman surprise Canterbury in Nelson
Sportal.co.nz 24 Aug 2012 Getty Images
The ball was moved quickly and it was Fonotia who stepped his way beneath the posts to score to get last season's wooden spooners an historic win.
Moments before a turnover in a ruck by flanker Matt Todd, who had been replaced only to come back onto the field when No.8 Nasi Manu was injured, provided space for wing Johnny McNicholl to score.
The upset was set in train earlier in the half as Tasman scented only their second win against Canterbury in seven outings.
Quick ball from a mid-field ruck in the 50th minute was cleared well by hooker Quentin MacDonald to second five-eighths Andrew Goodman who got through the defences. He found fullback Robbie Malneek racing down the sideline to score in the corner. Goodman then landed the conversion.
Canterbury first five-eighths Tyler Bleyendaal had a worrying few moments with errors, including the restart going out on the full.
Tasman, buoyed by the support of their home crowd rumbled back downfield and it was only penalisable mistakes by Tasman that prevented further embarrassment for Canterbury.
Tasman No.8 Jordan Taufua consistently set the example for his side by making some powerful surges with the ball. He took the challenge to Canterbury hard man Nasi Manu. Manu started with some typically aggressive running but handling errors reduced his effectiveness.
With locks Filipo Levi and Tevita Cavubati also looking to back him up there was plenty to admire in the Tasman approach.
Cripps had a fine game, directing play efficiently and his 65th minute crossfield kick to flanker, and tryscorer, Shane Christie had Canterbury down and out but a knock-on by MacDonald when hit in a two-man tackle eased the pressure. It was his charge down that provided the final try.
Canterbury's pack was unable to throw off the shackles, a fact not helped by the loss of lock Luke Katene to a concussion injury midway through the first half.
While they were unable to score a try in the first half, the defence was generally sound.
Tasman attempted to launch a succession of early drives down the blindside but on each occasion the Canterbury defences were impenetrable and the momentum was eventually turned to the visitors' advantage.
A breakthrough finally occurred in the 27th minute when Christie broke the stalemate. He benefited from a break by Taufua which found centre Bryce Heem quickly in support to extend the impetus.
The ball was cleared by Goodman to flanker Joe Wheeler who completed the quick transfer to put Christie in at the corner.
However, Canterbury were back in front 6-5 a minute later when second five-eighths Tom Taylor added a second penalty goal.
It proved a momentary relief as Goodman finally found the posts with his fourth kick of the night with a penalty goal in the 29th minute.
Canterbury were unable to break the Tasman shackles and in the 39th minute there was reward for quick taps taken at penalties when Cripps snapped over a dropped goal which was replied to by Taylor with a third penalty goal on the halftime whistle.
Tasman 25 (Shane Christie, Robbie Malneek, Kieron Fonotia tries; Andrew Goodman 2 con, pen; Hayden Cripps dropped goal) Canterbury 22 (Johnny McNicholl try; Tom Taylor 4 pen; Tyler Bleyendaal con, pen ). HT: 11-9
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