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Mako women make promising start at Lansdowne

Tasman halfback Pippa Andrews attempts to shrug out of a North Harbour tackle on Saturday. Photo: Shuttersport.

The Tasman women’s rugby team put up a strong performance in their first Farah Palmer Cup match of the national provincial championship season.

The Mako opened their 2019 campaign with a 22-10 loss to North Harbour at Lansdowne Park in Blenheim on Saturday, a late surge allowing the northerners to take the spoils after the scores were locked 5-5 at halftime.

Centre Wairakau Greig scored an early try for Tasman, who more than matched Harbour in the early exchanges.

However the visitors finished the match stronger, opening up a  handy lead before Tasman clawed their way back through a try to fellow midfielder Jess Drummond with 15 minutes to go.

However, Harbour had the final say, adding a third try near the finish.

Mako coach Chris Binns felt his side had the better of the first spell and were very competitive throughout.

“Both teams were probably guilty of first-game syndrome, over-enthusiastic, with quite a few basic errors, but Harbour settled down in the second half.

“Even so, we were right in it through much of the second half, we just didn’t capitalise on those little opportunities that presented themselves. That frustrated us a bit and then we were guilty of being over-enthusiastic at the ruck, giving up easy metres by giving away penalties. And, unfortunately for us, North Harbour capitalised on the opportunities they created. We scored to bring ourselves right back into it but gave up one more with five [minutes] to go.”

Binns said his side demonstrated their expected strength out wide and also, less-expected, at scrum time.

“For the most part we were dominant but we have got to learn not to relax on our own ball.”

Pippa Andrews, at halfback, prop Anna Bradley, flanker Leah Miles, who created multiple turnovers, plus try-scorers Drummond and Greig, stood out in a promising team effort.

“I wasn’t happy with the result,” added Binns, “but was pleased with many aspects of the game.

“The attitude of the players throughout the whole game was good.

“If I wasn’t beforehand I certainly am now hugely excited about what the rest of this competition is going to bring for us. We have a whole lot more growth that can take place.”

Next week the Mako travel to New Plymouth to take on Taranaki.

North Harbour 22 Tasman Mako 10 (Wai Greig, Jess Drummond tries). HT: 5-5.

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