Mako flanker Ethan Blackadder on the charge against Auckland last month. Photo: Barry Whitnall/ Shuttersport (File).

Crunch time for Mako


Ten games, ten wins.

Few could have scripted a more perfect run for the Tasman Mako in its quest for a maiden Mitre 10 Cup premiership.

After going unbeaten in pool play the Mako must now knock out the defending champions Auckland in Blenheim this weekend.

However, the big city boys will no doubt still be carrying psychological and physical scars from the 40-0 drubbing it suffered in Nelson in September.

Losing Shannon Frizell to All Black duty early in the season did nothing to halt the momentum of the Mako machine which claimed first-up wins against Wellington and Canterbury.

From there, Tasman were seldom threatened by opposition, easily dispatching the likes of Manawatu, Counties Manukau, Auckland, Northland and Hawke’s Bay.

While there were slight stumbles, the Mako repelled brave efforts from North Harbour, Waikato, Otago and Taranaki to maintain its perfect record.

Tasman boasts a staggering differential of +277 and scored a total of 48 from a possible 50 points.

They ran in 57 tries, made 156 clean breaks and beat 295 defenders.

Leicester Fainga’anuku leads the try scoring charts for the Mako with seven while Will Jordan has made 781 metres.

It was again a combination of attacking brilliance and set piece dominance in Napier on Saturday which provided the Mako with an ideal dress rehearsal for next week’s semi.

The Mako downed the Magpies 47-28 to clinch an unbeaten run through Mitre 10 Cup round robin play, the first time that has been achieved since Auckland did so in 2007.

The Mako play their semi-final in Blenheim at 2.05 pm next Saturday.

Tasman 47 (Sione Havili, Leicester Fainga’anuku 2, Tima Fainga’anuku, Alex Nankivell, Hugh Roach, Mitch Hunt tries, Hunt 4 con, David Havili 2 con) Hawke’s Bay 28 (Marino Mikaele Tu’u, Devan Flanders, Jason Long, Caleb Makene tries, Tiaan Falcon 4 con). HT 19-14 Mako