Ethan Blackadder was the only Mako to score a try against Auckland last weekend. Photo: Gavin Hadfield/Shuttersport. ,17th August 2018. Photo Gavin Hadfield /Shuttersport Ltd

Mako look to bounce back against Taranaki

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Tasman will be looking to bounce back from its first defeat of 2018 when it hosts Taranaki in Nelson this Friday night.

The Tasman Mako’s unbeaten Mitre10 Cup run came to an emphatic end at Eden Park last Friday night as Auckland gave last year’s finalists a reality check with a dominant 36-10 victory.

After three wins to start their 2018 campaign, the Mako were thoroughly outplayed by an Auckland side starring returning All Black Patrick Tuipulotu.

The Mako looked good early on as Finlay Christie set up Ethan Blackadder after a blistering break from the base.

However, the first forty was the Tuipulotu show, the 16-test All Black bagging three tries, his second a stunner as the towering lock showed a clean set of heels to out-sprint the covering Mako defence.

A Mitch Hunt error handed Auckland a third before Tuipulotu crashed over for a first half hat-trick right before the break to give the hosts a commanding 19-point lead.

The action wavered in the second as neither team could add to its half-time score until the 76th minute when Akira Ioane powered over off the back of another Mako error.

The loss sees Tasman fall to third on the premiership table with Auckland leap-frogging them into second.

Losing skipper David Havili says the “classy” Auckland team dominated the Mako at the breakdown and piled on the defensive pressure.

“We just lost our shape, we will take learnings from this game and turn up again next week.”

The Mako return home for their first appearance at Trafalgar Park when they meet Taranaki, fresh off losing the Ranfurly Shield on Friday night.

“We are looking forward to the challenge of it,” Havili says.

Kick off is at 7.45pm.