The Tasman Makos made a superb start to their season with a 25-22 win over Canterbury in their ITM Cup rugby match at Nelson's Trafalgar Park.
Despite some early Canterbury pressure, Tasman led 11-9 at the break after scoring the only try of the half.
An early Tom Taylor penalty put Canterbury ahead 3-0 in just the first minute before a strong break by centre Bryce Heem eventually saw lively flanker Shane Christie dive in at the corner to give Tasman their first lead at 5-3.
Canterbury immediately reclaimed the lead through a second Taylor penalty, leaving Tasman skipper and second five-eighth Andrew Goodman to restore the home team's advantage at 8-6 with his first penalty success.
With Tasman turning down several kickable penalty opportunities, first five-eighth Hayden Cribbs eventually took matters into his own hands with a well struck dropped goal with referee Richard Kelly playing advantage, to extend the lead to 11-6.
Taylor struck again just before the break to complete the first half scoring.
Canterbury fired from the restart, launching several dangerous attacks and giving Taylor the chance to reclaim the lead at 12-11.
Tasman had the home crowd in raptures again when fullback Robbie Malneek finished a strong break by Goodman to score their second try, Goodman adding the sideline conversion for an 18-12 lead.
Tyler Bleyendaal narrowed the margin to 18-15 with Canterbury's fifth penalty success midway through the half, but with six minutes remaining, Canterbury winger Johnny McNicholl capitalised on a crucial turnover to score wide out.
Substitute centre Kieron Fonotia sealed the win, capitalising on a charged down kick to score between the posts with time up
Canterbury 22 (Johnny McNicholl try, Tom Taylor 4 pens, Tyler Bleyendaal pen, con)
Tasman 25 (Shane Christie, Robbie , Kieron Fonotia tries, Andrew Goodman pen, 2 cons, Hayden Cripps drop goal)
Ht Tasman 11-9
Friday August 24 2012 11:46 p.m.