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Tasman do Taranaki a favour

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Sportal.co.nz     02 Sep 2012     Getty Images

The match, won 49-40 by Taranaki, produced 10 tries - five for each team - and the result was only put beyond doubt when Beauden Barrett dived over in the closing minutes.

It was not your typical Shield challenge as both sides looked to attack at every opportunity.

Taranaki had their four-try ITM Cup bonus point wrapped up inside 25 minutes of the thrilling encounter after Blade Thomson and Waisake Naholo added to Kurt Baker's brace.

Tasman had to wait until two minutes after the break to secure theirs when Quentin MacDonald completed a good night for the front row following tries to props Campbell Johnstone and Tim Perry.

Winger James Lowe got the visitors off to a good start with a scintillating run in the fourth minute, while Robbie Malneek grabbed their fifth on the hour-mark.

"We were expecting them to come strong and it was probably not your traditional Ranfurly Shield game. It was high-scoring and pretty open and that's the positive way we want to play," Eaton told Sky Sports.

"We weren't too worried about what brought as long as we controlled the game and scored points.

"It was an exciting game. I'm proud of the boys. We stuck it for the 80 minutes but next week we've got to lift. Hawke's Bay are coming and they are going to come right as us pretty hard.

"We want to hang on to the Shield so we'll lift our game."

Barrett, who also kicked three conversions and six penalties for a 29-point haul, was confident the team would have no trouble keeping their feet on the ground.

"We've got some tough weeks coming up. We've got a lot of work to do. We'll be able to stay grounded," the first-five said.

Although the running rugby was thrilling to watch at Yarrow Stadium, both sides will be well aware they will need to tighten up on defence before next week's matches against the Magpies and Manawatu, respectively.

Tasman captain Andrew Goodman acknowledged his players had fallen off too many tackles.

"To win the Shield you've got to attack 100 percent. I guess our defence let us down tonight. It's disappointing," he said.

The Makos also surprisingly turned down penalty shots at goal in search of a try in the last 10 minutes when they trailed just 40-44.

"We wanted to play that tempo in the last 10 minutes but we kind of lost our way," admitted Goodman.

"Maybe looking back on it we could have taken a penalty or two. But you can never look back can you."