The Tasman Mako Development Team opened their two-match tour of the USA with a 29-19 win over the Houston Sabrecats in Houston on Sunday [NZ time].
The young-looking Mako outfit dominated the early stages of the first spell, tries to Sam Matenga and Jamie Spowart seeing them race out to a 12-0 lead. However their Texan rivals came back and by halftime the home side led 14-12 after notching two converted tries.
Five minutes into the second spell centre Caleb Coventry latched onto a wayward pass to push the Mako ahead 17-14, Sam Briggs’ conversion giving the visitors a 19-14 lead.
Briggs added a penalty on the 60 minute mark, before the Sabrecats scored their third to close the gap to 22-19 with 10 minutes remaining.
The match-clincher came five minutes later, substitute Briggs stealing the ball from a Houston attacker then weaving his way 60m to the tryline, eluding a series of defenders on the way. His conversion gave the home side a 10 point advantage which they held until the final whistle. His game-defining efforts also earned him the man of the match award.
Their second, and final, game is against Seattle Seawolves on Monday January 27 [NZ time], kick off 4.30pm.