Turbos Beaten by Taranaki
The Turbos came up against a clinical and determined Taranaki side on Saturday evening, going down 44-10 at FMG Stadium.
The Turbos were looking to jump ahead of Waikato in the battle to avoid relegation from the premiership in this game, but had plenty of other motivations. It was last chance give coach Jason O'Halloran a fitting send-off in his last game in charge in Palmerston North. The green and whites started out positive enough, but the first 20 minutes, as O'Halloran noted, ended up being another disaster. “Loose line-outs, missed tackles, and then having to chase the game again...that's been a recurring theme all year”. The Turbos looked short of ideas after some good initial breaks, and spent far too much time in their own half on defence. Taranaki applied all kinds of pressure, and with a more structured approach, were able to slowly pull away on the scoreboard. That was in large part thanks to Seta Tamanivalu, who almost always found a way to put his support players into space.
Taranaki showed plenty of endeavour early in the game, running the ball from their own 5m line barely 30 seconds into the contest. The Turbos made them pay for their bravery, landing the first points via an Otere Black penalty. There were some promising signs for the Turbos after they got themselves into the lead, but in the 10th minute things changed for the worst.
Jackson Ormond got the first try after some patient build up work from Taranaki, and just a couple of minutes later the visitors doubled their lead. A wonderful offload from Seta Tamanivalu put Kurt Baker away for a try against his old side, and gave Taranaki a 14-3 lead. The Turbos struggled in the line-outs once more, where Rob Foreman's throwing was often astray.
Getting past the advantage line also troubled the Turbos, and as the pressure built, the mistakes mounted against the hosts. A penalty extended Taranaki's lead further, before the Turbos got themselves back into the contest with some patient play. They were unlucky not to have their first try after 32 minutes, when Newton Tudreu scraped the touchline. Instead, the Turbos conceded more points, to trail 24-3 at halftime.
The Turbos came out firing in the second half, and managed to score the first points of the second spell with a try to captain Callum Gibbins. It was a short-lived reprieve for the hosts, as Taranaki quickly re-asserted their dominance by camping down in the Turbos' 22m. They too were denied a try by the TMO, but shortly after they had their bonus point try thanks to Charlie Ngatai.
The Turbos showed that they weren't going to die wondering though, and dominated the next ten minutes. Just as they did before their first try, they built phases well and controlled possession, and all while they were just 5m away from Taranaki's line. However, that was as close as the hosts could get, as Taranaki's defence held firm while under the pump.
The visitors then turned defence into offence, and in the blink of an eye they had gone from just outside their own 22m all they way across the Turbos try line, with Blade Thomson scoring their fifth try. With ten minutes to go they added three more points to their tally, and when Heiden Bedwell-Curtis was yellow carded, Liam McBride knocked over another penalty to complete Taranaki's win.
The Turbos will finish their season when they take on Wellington in the capital next weekend. They need to win that game to give themselves a chance of staying in the premiership, and O'Halloran is sure that the Turbos can finish the season off on a high note. “First and foremost is to turn up with a positive attitude that we can actually beat Wellingtion. Then getting the basics of rugby right, which is win your set piece, go forward, maintain the ball and make your tackles. Twice we've done that this year, and we've won two games...It's not rocket science”.
Taranaki-44 (Jackson Ormond, Kurt Baker, Toa Halafihi, Charlie Ngatai, Blad Thomson tries; Codey Rei 5 con, pen; Liam McBride 2 pen)
Manawatu Turbos-10 (Callum Gibbins try; Otere Black con, pen)
Jordan Matthews – Turbos Reporter
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